A mother recounted the harrowing moment she held her dying teenage son after he was shot following a football scrimmage.
Meredith Elizalde said she whispered a Muslim prayer during the last moments of her son Nicolas’ life. She felt him leave, she told NBC Philadelphia, and told him “I love you, I’m here,” as he became unconscious and then died.
Ms Elizalde’s 14-year-old-son succumbed to his gunshot wounds after violence broke out close to the city’s Roxborough High School on Tuesday as a scrimmage for the team ended. Four other youngsters were shot in the rampage by five assailants who were also teens, with Nicolas being the sole fatal victim.
“I heard the shooting start and I didn’t know where he was, but inside as a mother, I knew it,” Ms Elizalde told NBC as she broke down in tears. “I ran to the shots. I ran to the shots and I couldn’t get him, but I held him and I felt him leave. But I was holding him. He wasn’t alone.”
Ms Elizalde said she relived the trauma watching the surveillance video, which Philadelphia authorities said captures the entirety of the shooting.
Nicolas was a week shy of turning 15. He was socially conscious and championed for animal rights, climate change and gun control, Ms Elizalde told NBC.
She was waiting to pick him up after the scrimmage and desperately tried to find him when she heard the shots. As Ms Elizalde held her son her in her arms, she called 911.
Ms Elizalde described her son as a martyr and said that she didn’t him to be just another number in the second-digits list of juveniles shot in Philadelphia in 2022.
“The surveillance video is very hard to watch, these kids shooting other kids. And nothing is going to change,” the grieving mother told NBC.
She said that she always knew Nicolas’s life “would mean something,” but didn’t expect him to become one of the more than 400 homicide victims in the city so far this year.
Another 14-year-old male and a 17-year-old male also shot during the incident on Tuesday were hit to hospital in a stable condition. The condition of the fourth victim has not been made public.
Investigators say that the four victims were walking off a field when a man shot at them from a Ford Explorer vehicle, WPVI reports.
On Wednesday, police recovered the SUV linked to the attack from 61st and Passyunk, Fox News reported. Authorities said the vehicle was stolen over the summer.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident and no arrests have yet been made. The shooting took place on the same day that Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order banning guns and other deadly weapons from city recreation facilities.
The incident comes the day after a 19-year-old died in the city after being shot 21 times in broad daylight. City officials say that as of 26 September there had been 1,407 non-fatal and 372 fatal shooting victims in Philadelphia in 2022.
The City of Philadelphia is offering a $45,000 reward for tips about the attack. Anyone with information is asked to call Philadelphia Police Department Homicide Division at 215-686-3334.