Jane Roh, District Attorney’s Office, 215–686–8711, Jane.Roh@phila.gov
PHILADELPHIA (Dec. 13, 2019) — District Attorney Larry Krasner on Friday announced new charges have been filed in the December 1, 2019, shooting death of 18-year-old Suhail Gillard.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) has filed charges including Involuntary Manslaughter, Endangering the Welfare of Child, and Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Felon against Aleem Gillard (DOB: 12/10/77), Suhail’s father.
The arrest of Aleem Gillard comes two days after homicide and all other charges were dropped against Fayaadh Gillard, Suhail’s twin. A thorough and careful investigation led the DAO to conclude that while Fayaadh did fatally shoot his brother, it was a result of a tragic accident with no criminal intent on his part.
Following further investigation, the DAO now alleges that Aleem Gillard, who was in possession of at least two firearms despite being lawfully prohibited from doing so due to a felony conviction, was criminally responsible for Suhail Gillard’s death and for endangering Fayaadh and their 16-year-old sister, who were present at the time of the incident.
“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,” District Attorney Krasner said. “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.”
According to interviews conducted with relatives and school officials, Fayaadh and Suhail Gillard were extremely close, both seniors at Mastery Charter School Lenfest Campus.
“These two young men, bonded since birth, were known to be talented student athletes with bright futures ahead. Suhail’s life was unfairly cut short because of an illegal firearm and the recklessness of Aleem Gillard,” DAO Homicide Unit Supervisor Anthony Voci said. “I’m hopeful that this office’s pursuit of justice for Suhail Gillard’s death brings some resolution, and a path forward to healing, for those who mourn him.”
Aleem Gillard has been charged with Involuntary Manslaughter, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Corruption of a Minor, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Tampering With Evidence, Obstruction of Justice, and other associated charges.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million citizens of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecution of over 40,000 criminal cases annually.