Murder charges dropped for Fayaadh Gillard, accused of shooting, killing twin brother

Kristen Johanson
December 11, 2019 - 10:23 am
Fayaadh Gillard

Kristen Johanson/KYW Newsradio

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UPDATED: 6:35 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Just one week after being charged with murder in the death of this twin brother, 18-year-old Faayadh Gillard is walking free, and the Philadelphia District Attorney now has his sights set on the boys' dad.

In a surprise preliminary hearing Wednesday that drew family and friends to the courthouse, prosecutors called the killing a "tragic accident." After an investigation into the case, they said they have decided to drop murder charges against Faayadh in the death of his brother Suhail. 

The shooting happened earlier this month. Suhail was shot once in the chest after authorities say the teens' father showed them the gun.

"Our investigation and cooperation with the Philadelphia police initially found that Faayadh did indeed pull the trigger and fire the shot that killed his brother. But upon further and careful investigation, we have concluded that while Faayadh did pull the trigger, he did not do so with criminal intent," District Attorney Larry Krasner said. 

"This should have never have happened, and I do believe the parties who are responsible are going to have to atone in the very near future," said Faayadh's attorney Chaka Johnson.

Authorities are now turning their attention to the teens' father, Aleem Gillard. 

Suhail Gillard
Courtesy of Eastern Pa. Football Conference.
"He should not have encouraged his three children, the twins and their 16-year-old sister, to play with the firearm and after the accidental shooting resulting in the death of one of his twins, he should not have instructed his two surviving traumatized children to lie, so that he could keep himself out of prison," Krasner added. 

The twins' mother Nafeesa Ford says she's just happy to get one of her sons back.

"I can now start healing," she said.

Faayadh walked out of the courthouse, embraced by his mother, family and friends.

He spoke to KYW Newsradio briefly and said that he is thankful for his support system through the entire ordeal. 

Standing outside, Faayadh wiped tears from his eyes and held up the number four above his head in honor of his brother, who wore the number 44 on his football jersey at Mastery Charter School.

"There’s unfinished business. Me and my brother, we had dreams," he said. "And I plan on fulfilling those dreams. Big dreams, school, football, music — anything."

Related: Mastery Charter football star to be laid to rest after brother charged with his murder