Fifth suspect arrested in shooting death of student

by Staff
Posted 10/26/23

U.S. marshals and police arrested the fifth suspect Monday in the shooting death of a teenager outside of Roxborough High School.

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Fifth suspect arrested in shooting death of student


U.S. marshals and police arrested the fifth suspect Monday in the shooting death of teenager Nicolas Elizalde, who was killed last year when he was shot while leaving a football practice with other students outside of Roxborough High School, according to the U.S. Marshals office.

Dayron Burney-Thorn, 17, was arrested in the 200 block of West Walnut Lane in Germantown after eluding authorities for more than a year after the shooting in September of 2022.  

Burney-Thorn was the last of five suspects to be arrested in the death of 14-year-old Elizalde, a freshman at Saul High School in Roxborough who died in his mother’s arms after he was shot. Four others were injured in the shooting as players left a football scrimmage in the 4700 block of Pechin Street and were sprayed with bullets in an ambush.

Burney-Thorn is also wanted in connection with an additional homicide that also occurred in September of 2022.  Suspects in the Elizalde shooting, teenagers Troy Fletcher, Saleem Miller and Zyhied Jones, along with Yaaseen Bivins have already been arrested. 

Authorities arrested Burney-Thorn at an apartment building after police and marshals surrounded the building at about 1:45 p.m. Burney-Thorn attempted to escape by jumping out of a fourth-floor window, but authorities were waiting below, took him into custody and transported him to a nearby hospital for treatment

“Burney-Thorn’s capture sends a clear message that we never cease in our pursuit of bringing violent fugitives to justice. Our thoughts remain with Meredith Elizalde, who lost her only son Nicolas in this tragic murder, and hope this last arrest can bring some closure to Nicolas’ classmates and teammates at Roxborough High School,” Eric Gartner, United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said in a press release.

The shooting and death of Elizalde in such a brazen daylight ambush rocked the school community, neighborhood and region. Students at Northeast High School and Boys Latin Charter School in Philadelphia were injured in the attack.

After the shooting, Roxborough High School secured a $500,000 grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to increase security.

At an event announcing the grant, Elizalde’s mother, Meredith Elizade, called for prayers and action. “We are failing our kids. We are failing ourselves. And we have to do better. We’re in a state of emergency. We’re in a war. And no one has the luxury of riding the bench,” she said. “My son is not even the most recent child murdered in this city.” 

She added that while she appreciates the additional money for security at Roxborough, she believes that every child deserves a safe school environment. 

WHYY contributed to this report.