PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Police Department continues to search for five shooters wholeaving a football scrimmage at Roxborough High School Tuesday. Nicholas Elizalde, a 14-year-old freshman at Saul High School, was killed in the shooting.
Police recovered a gray SUV suspected to be the getaway vehicle Wednesday night. The SUV had been stolen.
The Roxborough community held a vigil Thursday night to remember Elizalde.
There remains a somber feeling in the air outside of Roxborough High School, where a memorial of flowers and candles and more is growing near the school.
Elizalde’s life was cut short Tuesday afternoon when police say five gunmen opened fire after a scrimmage, intending to strike another teen. Investigators say Elizalde was an innocent bystander.
“I saw the boy go down,” Brett Quigley said.
Quigley of Roxborough is a volunteer firefighter and rushed toward the teen.
“I wanted to go over to him and see how I could help,” Quigley said.
Quigley says he immediately carried over water and towels and checked Elizalde’s vitals, but he says it was just too late.
“I’m still kind of stunned from it,” Quigley said. “I can’t imagine what the family is going through.”
Security video shows the five gunmen police are looking for. Officers say they fired more than 60 shots, striking a total of five teens. Four of them are now recovering.
But Quigley wants Elizalde’s family to know he didn’t die alone.
“There was a lot of people around him,” Quigley said. “There was a lot of people who cared a lot about him and hated to see this happen and wanted to help.”
It’s the power of prayer that’s helping the Roxborough community cope with the tragic and sudden loss of Elizalde.
Elizalde’s mother attended a vigil in his honor Thursday night at Gorgas Park.
Candles were burning in her son’s memory and flowers were lined up one by one and then placed on a small memorial behind Roxborough High School.
The community is showing her she’s not alone.
“We have a strong community. We are family,” a teacher at Roxborough High School said. “There are good days and bad days in family and we will get through this because we have each other.”
“The people in this community are really very attached to each other and there’s like a homey feeling no matter where you go,” Janet Szeliga said.
Elizalde, along with other teens, were ambushed and shot Tuesday night while leaving a football scrimmage.
“Unfortunately, it’s happening everywhere in the city and I just never thought it would happen in Roxborough,” Szeliga said. “It just breaks my heart.”
As the community continues to grieve a young life lost, teachers say they will continue to be there for students as they navigate this traumatic time.
“I get up every day for them on good days and bad days,” a teacher said. “They are my students. Anybody who knows me they are the first ones I think of after my own family and what I can do to make it better for them.”