Aleem Gillard, the father of 18-year-old Philadelphia high school football star Suhail Gillard, was arrested and charged Thursday night (December 12) in his son’s fatal Dec. 1 shooting.
Police originally charged Fayaadh Gillard with the murder of his twin, but after careful investigation, prosecutors dropped the charges.
“While our office’s initial decision to prosecute Fayaadh Gillard was rooted in the fact, volunteered by him, that he was holding the gun that caused his brother’s death, further careful investigation led us to conclude that this was a horrifically tragic accident for which Fayaadh Gillard, already grieving and traumatized, should not be held criminally liable,” district attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement via the Philly Voice.
Prosecutors have surmised based on family testimony, according to an ABC report, that Aleem Gillard told his son Fayaadh to lie about what happened so that Aleem’s convicted felon status would not come up.
“Fayaadh initially told police that his brother had been shot by an unknown assailant, but he admitted to pulling the trigger when officers told him that Suhail died during surgery, the family’s attorney said. His father, who is a convicted felon, allegedly told him to say Suhail had been shot elsewhere, not inside his apartment and not with his father’s gun, according to the family. The twins’ father is currently on probation and is prohibited from possessing firearms.”
Aleem Gillard possessed at least two firearms that were illegal for him to own due to his prior felony conviction, prosecutors said.
Now Fayaadh, who was extremely close with his twin brother, must cope and find a way to heal from this traumatic incident.
Mastery Charter Schools, the high school where the twins played football, said the prosecutor’s decision to drop charges against Fayaadh “relieves a tremendous burden for the family.”
“The tragic reality, however, is that regardless of the court decision, Fayaadh is grieving in a way that is beyond comprehension,” the school said in a statement. “We will continue to support him and his family through this difficult time.”