VIDEO: Philly officials ask public to help identify 5 suspects in Roxborough shooting

There is a $45K reward for information leading to arrest and conviction
Roxborough High School
Five Roxborough High School football players were ambushed Tuesday by a group of five gunmen, killing a 14-year-old boy, Philadelphia police say. Photo credit Kristen Johanson/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — City officials gathered Wednesday with new information about Tuesday’s shooting near Roxborough High School that killed 14-year-old Nicolas Elizalde and wounded four other teenagers. Police believe the shooting was a targeted attack.

Philadelphia police showed new surveillance video of what looks like a light-green Ford Explorer SUV parked on the southeast corner of Pechin and Gates streets, behind Roxborough High School, for about six minutes before the shooting.

As the victims walk by on the opposite side of the street, five people can be seen getting out of the SUV and immediately opening fire, said Capt. Jason Smith of the homicide division.

“Following the initial barrage of gunfire. Four of the five shooters are observed returning to the suspect SUV. A fifth shooter continues to pursue one of the shooting victims, shooting at him as both are running down Pechin Street," Smith said.

“The victim is ultimately struck by one of the offender's bullets, and he collapses on the sidewalk. The shooter runs up to the victim as he lay helpless on the ground, stands over top of him and continues firing.

“The only thing that stopped this individual from firing is that he apparently had run out of bullets and his slide had locked to the rear.”

That fifth suspect is seen running back to the SUV, and it races off on Gates Street. Police believe a sixth person may be involved as the person driving the car.

A total of 64 fire cartridge casings were found at the scene, said Deputy Police Commissioner Frank Vanore.

All the forensic evidence gathered at the scene has been processed, he said, adding that video will be "our very best piece of evidence."

Police say this incident was a targeted attack and that Elizalde was not the target.

Smith said the group of gunmen must be taken off the street. They are all considered armed and dangerous.

"I know there are people out there who know who these guys are, and can turn them in anonymously to us, and we'll take it from there," Mayor Jim Kenney said.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to make an anonymous report by calling or texting 215-686-TIPS. There is a $45,000 reward for any information leading to the identification of the five suspects.

Four of the five victims, including Elizalde, were members of Roxborough High School football team. Three teams, Roxborough, Northeast, and Boys Latin Charter, were playing in a scrimmage match, which ended shortly before 5 p.m. Elizalde played for Roxborough High, though he was a student at nearby Saul High School.

Police are withholding the identities of the remaining four. They range in age from 14 to 17 years old.

Police say the shooting stemmed from a quarrel of some sort, though they don't believe there were issues directly related to the scrimmage match. They are still investigating the motive and piecing together who the intended target was.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Tony Watlington says the district is not considering any cancellations of after-school activities.

"Schools, historically, have been centers for communities. And schools continue to be hubs of our communities and absolutely must be safe places for our students and staff," Watlington said Wednesday.

Officials said there is always a police presence around the school during dismissal as well as football games. However, the shooting took place two hours after school dismissal, and the game was only a scrimmage without spectators. Officials admitted police presence was “light” at the time of the shooting but, they say, they will increase that at Roxborough and all the schools that were involved. Indeed, students at some Philadelphia schools saw an increased police presence Wednesday.

Moving forward, officers will keep an eye on practices and scrimmages, as well, said Deputy Commissioner Joel Dales.

"We can't cover them all. There's numerous scrimmages across the city, but if we receive any information whatsoever where there may be problems or issues during the scrimmage practice, we will have police officers present," he said.

Statistics from the City Controller's Office shows more than 175 people under the age of 17 have been victims of gun violence this year alone. Police data shows the number of juveniles shot in Philly by this time of year has doubled over the course of five years.

More than 20 of those shootings have been fatal.

Resources

If you know someone at risk of engaging in or being affected by gun violence, call the city's 24-hour Violence Prevention Hotline by dialing 211.

If you are in crisis and need to talk with someone, call 988 to be connected to support available.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police Department