A 14-year-old is dead following a shooting near Roxborough High School in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Four others were injured.
Authorities on Wednesday identified the victim as Nicolas Elizalde of Havertown.
According to police, at least two shooters ambushed a group of teenagers as they were leaving the field following a scrimmage between Roxborough High School, Northeast High School, and Boys Latin Charter School.
All five victims are believed to be football players. Police say four of the students were taken to local hospitals. The fifth student was treated at the scene after being grazed by a bullet.
The two alleged shooters fled the scene on foot and police are reviewing surveillance footage; however, no descriptions were provided and no arrests have been made.
District Attorney Larry Krasner told the media he was “absolutely outraged” and “shaken” by the shooting.
“Schools are supposed to be the answer,” Krasner said. “They’re supposed to be the answer. We keep kids in schools so they don’t get involved in the shooting. And what happens when we have shootings outside the schools? The remedy has to be a safe place. People have to be able to go there and do positive, constructive things like play football.”
Kevin Bethel, the Chief Safety Officer for the School District of Philadelphia, says they provide security during football games, but now they may have to think about providing more security.
“Now we have to cover scrimmage games and practice,” Bethel said. “I mean, that is we have kids out there playing fields across the city, you know, enjoying after school time, what we’re supposed to do with our young people. And so we’ll just have to go back and now and talk to the team to see if we even have to expand even further.”
Superintendent Tony Watlington says Tuesday’s violence adds to what’s already been a stressful time for students.
“Our young people already are traumatized by the pandemic and the effects of learning loss over the past two and a half years and a lot of other challenges,” Watlington said. “Just being a young person these days and certainly unacceptable gun violence like this does not help anything.”
The shooting left the local community shaken to its core, including Joe Truszkowski. When speaking to reporters from WHYY News partner 6abc, he said he felt nothing but sadness.
“This is horrible, makes you want to move,” Truszkowski said. “I’ve been here for 51 years and I’m seeing more and more of this.”
In an emailed statement, The Boys Latin Charter School called the shooting a devastating act of gun violence.
“We mourn the loss of life and the loss of the ability to feel safe and secure in our city. Far too many Boys’ Latin students have been robbed of this basic right. Their teammates, friends, families, teachers, and neighbors have as well. The school urges the city to take action. Boys’ Latin students and their peers across Philadelphia deserve safe, healthy communities in which they can play, learn, and fulfill their potential.”
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan issued a statement regarding the shooting Tuesday.
“It should be unfathomable to think a tragedy like this can unfold at our schools, or anywhere in our city, but the devastation wrought by gun violence remains cruel and relentless. My thoughts are, of course, with every single person impacted by today’s horror including the entire communities of all impacted schools including those we know at this time: Roxborough, Northeast, Saul, and Boys’ Latin Charter. My heart breaks for the loved ones of the child murdered, and for those injured and their loved ones. But my thoughts mean nothing, because society, specifically the state legislature, refuses to allow Philadelphia the autonomy to create the gun laws that we need. “
On Twitter, Mayor Jim Kenney said, “a family will begin to grapple with the loss of their loved one.”
The shooting occurred on the same day Kenney signed an executive order banning guns from being carried at indoor or outdoor recreation facilities. The move comes after the death of Tiffany Fletcher, a recreation department employee killed during a shootout at Mill Creek Playground earlier this month.
At least 400 homicides have been reported in Philadelphia so far this year.
If you or someone you know has been affected by gun violence in Philadelphia, you can find grief support and resources online.