Philadelphia authorities have apprehended the fifth and final suspect connected to the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old football player outside Roxborough High School in September 2022. Dayron Burney-Thorn, aged 17, was captured in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood on Monday afternoon by local police and U.S. Marshals.
Burney-Thorn was one of the five individuals involved in the ambush that led to the tragic death of 14-year-old Nicolas Elizalde near Roxborough High School on September 27, 2022. The other four suspects had previously been taken into custody.
Additionally, Burney-Thorn was wanted in connection with a separate homicide that occurred on September 26, 2022, in the 600 block of N. 13th Street.
Law enforcement officers executed Burney-Thorn’s arrest at an apartment on the 200 block of West Walnut Lane. However, when they entered the apartment, Burney-Thorn attempted to evade capture by jumping from a fourth-floor window. Following a struggle with officers, he was taken into custody and subsequently transported to a local hospital for medical treatment.
Eric Gartner, United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, expressed sympathy for Meredith Elizalde, the mother of the deceased Nicolas Elizalde, and hoped that the latest arrest would provide some form of closure to Nicolas’ classmates and teammates at Roxborough High School.
The shooting incident in 2022 unfolded outside Roxborough High School immediately after a junior varsity football scrimmage involving three schools: Roxborough High School, Northeast High School, and Boys Latin Charter School. Nicolas Elizalde, a freshman at Saul High School who played football for Roxborough, was fatally shot during the attack. Four others were wounded.
Authorities stated that the suspects had waited for six minutes inside a stolen Ford Explorer before suddenly opening fire, discharging more than 60 rounds.
The four previously arrested suspects, Yaaseen Bivins, Saleem Miller, Troy Fletcher, and Zyhied Jones, faced charges in connection with the shooting. Investigators believe that it was Burney-Thorn and Bivins who had purchased the ammunition used in the attack.
Burney-Thorn had been evading law enforcement for over a year before his capture. Authorities had previously speculated that he might be receiving assistance during his time on the run and had initially traced him to the Atlanta area. However, recent developments led U.S. Marshals to suspect that Burney-Thorn had returned to the Philadelphia region.
In a related development, Burney-Thorn was also linked to a separate murder case involving the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Tahmir Jones on September 26, 2022. Detectives used various forms of evidence, including DNA analysis, surveillance footage, and cell phone and GPS data, to establish the suspects’ connection to both crimes.
Dayron Burney-Thorn’s name is commonly misspelled as Dayron Burney-Thorne.