High school football star dies in shooting; twin brother charged

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Suhail Gillard was an athletic all-star whose star was rising.

"He had an offer to go to college and there were other schools that were looking at him as well," said John Davidson, head football coach for Mastery Charter School Lenfest Campus, where Gillard was a senior.

Sunday night, teachers and administrators in the school got the news that Gillard has been shot and killed in West Philadelphia.

Police responded to a 911 call at about 5:30 p.m. When they arrived at the 1100 block of North 63rd Street, they found the 18-year-old with a gunshot wound to the chest.

His twin brother, Fayaadh Gillard, was arrested for murder. Investigators, though, have not revealed the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

"It's been tragic. This is the first situation like this that we dealt with," said principal Chris Ziemba.

Gillard was a Philadelphia all-star and a three-time All-Public League football team player. He was key at several offensive positions including running back.

But the life he lived was even more amazing than the highlights.

"Incredible in the classroom and in the community. Stand up for anyone," said Ziemba.

Social workers and grief counselors have been at the school since Monday when students found out the tragic news.

That's the same date that police arrested Fayaadh Gillard, who is charged with murder, possession of instrument crime, unsworn falsification to authorities and obstructing justice.

On Wednesday, students in Suhail Gillard's senior class walked to Penn's Landing to release balloons in his honor. That site is the area where the school holds its graduation ceremony. Gillard was due to graduate in the spring and was fielding interest from several colleges to play football.

The school's entrance now has a display case with Gillard's jersey number, flowers and photos of him smiling with friends.

"(His teammates) are in disbelief," said Davidson. "They feel like it's a dream."
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