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October 24, 2023

Fifth suspect in fatal 2022 Roxborough High School shooting arrested more than a year later

Dayron Burney-Thorn, 17, was caught by police and U.S. Marshals in Germantown after he attempted to flee by jumping from the window of a fourth-floor apartment

Investigations Shootings
roxborough shooting arrest Jon Tuleya/PhillyVoice

Dayron Burney-Thorn, 17, was arrested Monday in connection to the shooting outside Roxborough High School that killed Nicolas Elizalde, 14, and wounded four other teenagers on Sept. 26, 2022. This file photo shows the memorial to Elizalde at the high school.

Dayron Burney-Thorn, the fifth and final suspect wanted for the shooting outside Roxborough High School last year that killed a 14-year-old who was walking back to the school with teammates after a football scrimmage, was arrested in Germantown on Monday afternoon.

Burney-Thorn, 17, had been the first person identified as a suspect in the Sept. 27, 2022 shooting that killed Nicolas Elizalde. When police and U.S. Marshals, who had located Burney-Thorn at the Lennox Apartments on the 200 block of West Walnut Lane on Monday, he tried to flee by jumping from a fourth-floor window, the Philly office of the U.S. Marshals Service said in a press release. He was seriously injured from the fall and taken to a hospital for treatment.

MORE: Funeral for fallen Philly police officer Richard Mendez to be held Tuesday

Elizalde, a first year student at Walter B. Saul High School, who played junior varsity football on the combined team at Roxborough High School, was killed when a group opened fire as he and his teammates walked along Pechin Street from the Roxborough High football stadium back to the school's locker room at 4:40 p.m. The shooters had been waiting inside a stolen Ford Explorer that was parked nearby, and they unloaded more than 60 bullets in the direction of the football team.

Police have said the shooting was a targeted ambush and that Elizalde and his three teammates who were injured were innocent victims. A fourth person injured was a 17-year-old who did not attend Roxborough or play for the the football team. Philadelphia police said at the time of the shooting, he was the intended target.

Before Monday, Burney-Thorn had been on the run for more than a year, and prosecutors theorized he was being helped. For a time, he was believed to be in the Atlanta area, but in the past few months, U.S. Marshals had become aware that Burney-Thorn may be back in the Philadelphia region.

The four other suspects — Yaaseen Bivins, 21; Saleem Miller, 16; Troy Fletcher, 15, and Zyhied Jones, 17 — were arrested in the weeks following the shooting. Authorities say they, along with Burney-Thorne, fired more than 60 bullets at teen football players on the 4700 block of Pechin Street.

At a preliminary hearing in January, a judge held Miller, Bivins, Jones and Fletcher for trial on murder and aggravated assault charges.

Investigators previously believed a sixth person served as the getaway driver, but analysis of DNA found in the Ford Explorer used by the suspects allegedly points to Burney-Thorne as the likely the getaway driver, CBS3 reported.

The U.S. Marshals issued the warrant for Burney-Thorn's arrest for the Roxborough shooting on Oct. 4, 2022. Burney-Thorne was also wanted for the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Tahmir Jones, who was killed in North Philly the day before the Roxborough High School attack.

Jones and Troy Fletcher have also been linked with the North Philly shooting, police say.

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