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Suit: Cops Fired on 'Innocent Bystanders,' Killing 8-Year-Old

Family of Fanta Bility files federal lawsuit against Philadelphia police
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2021 1:37 AM CDT
Updated Oct 28, 2021 11:58 AM CDT
Police Were Firing at Gunman. But They Likely Killed Girl, 8
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / MattGush)

(Newser) Update: The family of an 8-year-old girl fatally shot by police outside a high school football game in Philadelphia allege unreasonable and excessive force in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday. Gunfire erupted during an altercation between young men after the Aug. 27 game in Sharon Hill, CNN reports. Three police officers who were at the scene, and are now on administrative leave, allegedly opened fire on a car as it turned in front of them. The lawsuit claims the vehicle's occupants posed no threat, while the officers' bullets traveled "beyond the moving car into a crowd of innocent bystanders," killing Fanta Bility and injuring her 12-year-old sister, a 13-year-old boy, and two others. Our original story from Sept. 3 follows:

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An 8-year-old Pennsylvania girl who went to a high school football game to watch her cousin play and her sister perform as a cheerleader ended up dead August 27, and the district attorney announced Thursday that it was likely police who fired the fatal shot. Gunfire erupted near the concession stand as people were leaving the Academy Park High School game in Sharon Hill, soon after its game against Pennsbury High ended, ABC 11 reports. Three Sharon Hill police officers who were monitoring the game then fired toward the gunman, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Fanta Bility, 8, was hit and killed; her 13-year-old sister and two other people were also shot or grazed by what was likely police gunfire, per the DA.

No charges for the officers or anyone else were announced, and the DA says authorities have "a lot more work to do," as the original gunman, who allegedly injured at least one person, has not yet been identified. Anyone with information on the tragedy in the Philadelphia suburb is asked to get in touch with police. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. "The death of Fanta and the wounding of her sister and the other students are a heartbreaking tragedy for her family, her friends, and the entire Delaware County community," the DA says. (Read more Philadelphia stories.)

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