Fifth suspect in shooting outside Roxborough High School appears in court

14-year-old Nick Elizalde was killed and 4 other students were injured in the shooting

Katherine Scott Image
Monday, January 22, 2024
Fifth suspect in shooting outside Roxborough HS appears in court
Fifth suspect in shooting outside Roxborough High School appears in court

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Dayron Burney-Thorn will be tried for murder. He is one of five alleged co-conspirators connected to a mass shooting that killed a 14-year-old boy and injured four other students after a football scrimmage outside Roxborough High School in September 2022.

The ambush claimed the life of Nicolas Elizalde. Elizalde, of Havertown, was a freshman at Saul High School but played football for Roxborough.

Nicolas Elizalde

The 2022 shooting happened on the 4700 block of Pechin Street just as a junior varsity football scrimmage ended between three schools: Roxborough High School, Northeast High School and Boys Latin Charter School.

Police say the suspects waited for six minutes before jumping out of the SUV and firing more than 60 shots.

In Monday's preliminary hearing, Investigators presented surveillance video tracking the suspect's vehicle, a stolen Ford Explorer, to the crime scene at Roxborough High School and back.

"His cellphone puts him in lockstep with the data points so I think that paints a very clear picture," said Prosecutor Ashley Toczylowski.

Investigators utilized the in-vehicle "infotainment" system which tracked the car's every move and paired the car data to the pings from Burney-Thorn's cellphone.

Burney Thorne's defense attorney, Evan Hughes, "That data only puts him in a certain area, it's far from pinpoint accuracy."

Burney-Thorn eluded law enforcement for more than a year before he was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals in October 2023.

Photos show him being arrested last fall in Germantown after he jumped out of a window. He was also wanted for a separate homicide that also place on Sept. 26, 2022, in the 600 block of N. 13th Street.

The other four suspects -- Yaaseen Bivins, Saleem Miller, Troy Fletcher and Zyhied Jones -- were all arrested prior to Burney-Thorn and a judge already ordered them to stand trial.

Investigators said cell phone records, ballistics evidence and surveillance video linked the suspects to the shooting. An arrest affidavit also shows detectives, assisted by the ATF Task Force, were able to link the Chevy Impala used in the shooting to the gunmen and a Ford Explorer too. DNA found in both vehicles helped with arrests, including a cigarette butt connected to Jones.

Police believe it was Burney-Thorn and Bivins who bought the ammunition used that day.

The arrest affidavit also shows a web of connections between the four to other serious crimes in the city.

Of the multiple guns fired outside Roxborough High School, police wrote in the affidavit, "... three of which correlated with other events at the time this affidavit was authored."

Burney- Thorn, Jones and Fletcher are also accused of a separate murder that occurred in North Philadelphia the day before the Roxborough shooting.

All five suspects will be tried for the Roxborough shooting together. Arraignment is set for February 12.

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