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December 13, 2019

Father charged in fatal shooting of Overbrook 18-year-old Suhail Gillard

Murder charges against Gillard's brother, Fayaadh, were dropped earlier this week

Investigations Shootings
Suhail Gillard @gillard_suhail/Twitter

Suhail Gillard, 18, was fatally shot in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Gillard was a senior running back for Mastery Charter North and had planned to attend West Virginia State University. An investigation into the shooting remains ongoing.

Aleem Gillard, the father of 18-year-old Overbrook high school football star Suhail Gillard, was arrested and charged Thursday night in his son's fatal Dec. 1 shooting.

Gillard, 42, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of another person, corruption of minors, and other related offenses, according to Philadelphia Police.

Gillard's other son, Fayaadh Gillard, previously was charged with murder and related offenses in connection with the shooting, but the charges were dropped Wednesday.

Police said Wednesday that Fayaadh Gillard admitted he was the one who shot his brother, but a report this week from ABC News claimed Aleem Gillard was showing his sons how to load a gun when Suhail Gillard was shot.

From the report:

"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."

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner released this statement Friday on the charges against Gillard:

"Our oath requires that we pursue justice using facts and evidence collected in a fair and accountable way. 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. 
"Further careful investigation led us to find that Fayaadh and his younger sister were also victims of a criminal act, by their father who put the lives of his three children in danger on that terrible day. Not only did Aleem Gillard encourage his children to handle a deadly weapon, resulting in the accidental shooting of one of his twin boys, he later instructed his two surviving, traumatized children to lie to authorities so that he could keep himself out of prison. Aleem Gillard must now answer for the reckless, criminal behavior that resulted in the death of his child."

Multiple teachers and administrators from Mastery Charter North, where the Suhail and Fayaadh Gillard attended school, reached out to PhillyVoice in the days and weeks after the shooting to say that the shooting was accidental.

Suhail Gillard was a three-time All-Public League running back for Mastery Charter North's football team and had committed to play at West Virginia State University next fall. His brother also played football for the high school team.

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