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The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Rodrigo Torrejón and Ryan W. Briggs

Police make first arrest in connection with Philly school shooting

PHILADELPHIA — Police on Wednesday announced the first arrest in the shooting outside Roxborough High School that left a 14-year-old dead and four other teens injured.

In a statement, District Attorney Larry Krasner said that Philadelphia Police had arrested Yaaseen Bivins, 21, and the office had charged him with murder for his part in the shooting that killed Nicolas Elizalde and wounded four teens. Bivins was the second suspect to be identified, after Dayron Burney-Thorn, but is the first of at least five suspects to be arrested.

Burney-Thorn remains at large.

Law enforcement officials have said they believe at least five suspects were involved in the shooting. In a Wednesday afternoon briefing, Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore said that police were “very, very close” to issuing a warrant for a third person allegedly involved in the shooting, with a potential to arrive Wednesday.

Police said Bivins and Burney-Thorn participated in the shooting after a football scrimmage near the high school, but authorities have not specified either’s role.

Varone said that police were led to Bivins by a receipt found in the stolen Ford Explorer allegedly used as the getaway vehicle. The receipt was for ammuntion that Bivins had purchased in a South Philadelphia gun shop, he said.

As a convicted felon, Bivins was ineligible to purchase ammunition. Bivins was taken into federal custody Oct. 6 and has been in custody since then, said Varone.

Burney-Thorn is expected to face murder charges and be charged as an adult upon apprehension.

The Police Department is offering a reward of $45,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Elizalde’s mother, Meredith Elizalde, has urged the suspects to turn themselves in.

On Sept. 27, five shooters had been waiting in a parked SUV near the high school’s football field for several minutes. The five then jumped out of the gray car and fired more than 60 shots at a group of teens headed to the locker room after a scrimmage, police said.

Elizalde, of Havertown, Delaware County, was fatally hit in the chest. Four other teens, who ranged in age from 14 to 17, were also hit. Police later released surveillance footage that showed one of the suspects chasing a 17-year-old victim and firing his gun until he ran out of bullets.

The shooters then got back into the SUV and drove away.

Police have said they believe there may have been a sixth person serving as a getaway driver. It remains unclear why the shooters had targeted the teens in the first place.

Bivins was previously charged with third-degree murder of an unborn child and related offenses when he allegedly struck a pregnant women while street racing in 2020.

Bivins, now 21, allegedly careened his SUV into Gina Campbell at Broad and diamond Streets while intoxicated. He retained private defense attorney David Mischak.

Bivins was initially held on $1 million bail, but a judge reduced that amount to $170,000 last year.

In August, Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Ehrlich found Bivins guilty of aggravated assault, illegal racing, and causing a vehicular death while unlicensed in a bench trial. He was found not guilty of the most serious offenses.

At the time of the Roxborough shooting, Bivins was awaiting sentencing in that prior case.

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