PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Students at Walter B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences were stunned to learn that fellow classmate, 14-year-old Nicholas Elizalde was tragically killed in an ambush shooting after football practice outside of Roxborough High School.
"We lost somebody at our high school, it's a hard pill to swallow," said senior Germaine Kimber. "When there's shots at the football games it's crazy, but practice, it's not supposed to be there."
Students say they plan to honor Nick's memory at school.
"It was so sad. Everybody was writing posters for him and everything. Everybody has their heart out for him and everything," said junior Kyle Cherry.
"I'm sure he was a great kid and I just feel bad for the parents," said sophomore Kaia Hopkins
Three of the victims were only 14-years-old. The other two were 15 and 17.
"They're so young with these killings. Just no words," said parent Genotra Vinson.
Action News spoke with the mother of one of the victims, who isn't ready to speak publicly. She said her 14-year-old son attends Roxborough High School and was new to the school and was just getting to know his teammates.
She said he was in surgery to repair a shattered femur, which will end his football season but will also leave lifelong emotional scars.
"The last 24 hours have been devastating to our school district and our school communities. It is absolutely unimaginable that a group of students participating in a wholesome activity would be fired upon as they walked near a school," said Dr. Tony Watlington, Philadelphia School District Superintendent.
Watlington addressed the tragedy Wednesday, calling the city's rising gun violence a crisis.
"We owe it to our students to do more to stop the violence that is crippling our city," he said.
Counselors were on hand for students and staff on Wednesday. Friday's football game has been canceled.
The community of Roxborough is holding a vigil Thursday at Gorgas Park at 6300 Ridge Avenue at 7 p.m.