Trial ordered for 5th suspect in shooting outside Roxborough High School that killed 14-year-old, hurt others

A fifth suspect has been ordered to stand trial in an ambush shooting that killed a 14-year-old and wounded several other teenagers outside a Philadelphia high school after a football scrimmage in 2022.

A judge ruled Monday that there was enough evidence to hold 17-year-old Dayron Burney-Thorn for trial on murder, aggravated assault and other charges in the September 2022 shooting near Roxborough High School and on charges in a separate slaying the day before.

Authorities on Monday presented evidence they said placed a stolen vehicle at the crime scene and paired it with data from the defendant’s cellphone. Defense attorney Evan Hughes, however, said surveillance video was not sharp enough to identify his client and other data only put him in a certain area and was “far from pinpoint accuracy.”

Burney-Thorn eluded authorities for more than a year after the shooting but was arrested in October in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood after officials said he jumped from a fourth-story window trying to evade capture. He and four co-defendants, including three other teens, are to stand trial together. All have been charged as adults. Formal arraignment is scheduled Feb. 12.

Authorities said five people jumped from a parked SUV and opened fire on teens who were walking away from an athletic field at Roxborough High. Nicholas Elizalde, 14, of suburban Havertown, was killed, and three other teens were taken to a hospital with wounds; another was treated at the scene.

The shooting drew national attention and occurred hours after former Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, had signed an order banning deadly weapons from indoor and outdoor recreational spaces including parks, basketball courts and pools. A judge barred enforcement of the order after a legal challenge.

  • January 23, 2024
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