A Philadelphia teenager has been charged in the fatal shooting of his twin brother, police said Wednesday.
Police charged 18-year-old Fayaadh Gillard with murder in connection with the death of his twin, Suhail Gillard, an all-star football player at Philadelphia’s Mastery Charter School Lenfest Campus.
Officers responded to a call about a shooting on Sunday at around 5:30 p.m. and found Suhail suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Philadelphia Police Department. He was transported to Lankenau Medical Center by police and pronounced dead hours later.(MORE: Gunman dead, 3 injured in shooting at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard)
Investigators have not revealed any details about the circumstances surrounding the shooting, but family members said they’re confident that no foul play was involved.
“This was an accident. Fayaadh is an excellent and great kid just like his brother,” their uncle, Hasan Ford, told ABC News on Wednesday as the family prepared for the young man’s Thursday burial. “They were our greatest pride and our greatest joy. They were the ones with the most potential of our lineage.”
He declined to discuss how the teens gained access to the firearm, but he said the brothers had “never dealt with guns prior to this incident.”
Fayaadh has been charged with murder, possession of an instrument of crime, unsworn falsification to authorities, and obstructing justice, according to police.
John Davidson, assistant principal and head football coach for Mastery Charter School Lenfest Campus, where the brothers were both seniors, said the loss had shaken the school community. He described Suhail as “a scholar athlete” who was fielding college offers from several schools.
“He was a hard worker — on and off the field. He was one of the players that I would love to coach again,” Davidson told ABC News Wednesday following a school-sponsored ceremony in the teen’s honor. “We all admired his work ethic, his commitment to the game and his strive to always be better.”
“As a school, we’ve rallied together to support one another as well as his family in this tragic time,” he added.
Davidson said Suhail had attended the charter school since seventh grade and was a Philadelphia all-star and a three-time All-Public League player. He was also a member of the school’s track team.
“Offensively, he was our go-to. He was what we built our offense around this year,” the football coach said. “He was a rock for us.”(MORE: Utah school fires substitute teacher who told 5th-graders ‘homosexuality is wrong’)
The school hosted a balloon releasing ceremony for Suhail at Penn’s Landing, the waterfront park where the school is scheduled to hold its senior graduation later this year. The school is also planning to present the teen’s mother with a trophy and jersey in the near future, according to Davidson.
“He’s been in our school since the seventh grade and his mom has been a part of our fabric since he’s been here. We’re a very small school with a strong family atmosphere,” Davidson said. “We’re trying to heal, but it’s a continuing process and it’s going to go on for some time.”
Classmates remembered the slain teen with a memorial near the school’s entrance featuring his football jersey number, flowers, and numerous photos of him and his friends.