Trial ordered for 4 in ambush shooting outside Roxborough High School

Roxborough shooting
District Attorney Larry Krasner speaks Wednesday, Sept. 28, about the shooting outside Roxborough High School.
Jack Tomczuk

A judge has ordered four suspects to stand trial in an ambush shooting outside Roxborough High School that killed a 14-year-old and wounded several other teenagers after a football scrimmage last fall.

At Tuesday’s preliminary hearing, prosecutors presented evidence they said tied the adult and juvenile suspects to the Sept. 27 shooting. Twenty-one-year-old Yaaseen Bivins and the 15-, 16- and 17-year-old defendants are charged as adults with murder, aggravated assault, firearms crimes and other counts.

Another named 16-year-old suspect is still being sought and police have said they were seeking six suspects — five shooters and a driver. Two of the arrested juvenile suspects are also accused in a killing a day before the shooting.

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

Police have said they don’t believe Elizalde was one of the intended targets of the attack. They said one of the shooters chased a 17-year-old victim down the street, striking him with shots to the leg and arm, and tried to fire as he stood over the victim but the gun either jammed or was out of bullets.

The shooting drew national attention around the U.S. amid a string of mass shootings and also came just after Philadelphia surpassed 400 homicides for the year. A total of 516 people were killed last year in the city and the total of 562 the previous year marked the highest in the city in at least six decades.

Hours before the shooting, Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, 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 cited a state law that prevents any city or county from passing gun-control measures.