3 Cops Face Charges in Shooting of 8-Year-Old Girl

DA says police bullet killed Fanta Bility
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2022 6:50 PM CST
3 Cops Charged in Shooting of Girl, 8, Outside Football Game
In this photo provided by the Delaware County District Attorney's Office on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, Sharon Hill Police officers Brian Devaney, left, Sean Dolan, and Devon Smith are shown.   (Delaware County District Attorney's Office vis AP)

(Newser) – Three Pennsylvania police officers have been charged in connection with the death of an 8-year-old girl who was fatally shot outside a high school football game five months ago. Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer announced Tuesday that Sharon Hill officers Devon Smith, Sean Dolan, and Brian Devaney face counts of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless endangerment after a grand jury investigation, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Stollsteimer said the officers, who were on patrol as a crowd was leaving the game, "discharged their service weapons in the direction of the Academy Park football field" after gunfire erupted nearby.

Stollsteimer said investigators had concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that police gunfire killed Fanta Bility, who had gone to the game to watch her cousin play. Her 13-year-old sister and two other people were injured. Police say the gunfire began when 16-year-old Angelo Ford got into an argument with Hasein Strand, 19, the AP reports. Stollsteimer said Tuesday that first-degree murder charges against the teens in connection with the girl's death had been dropped, though other charges in connection with the gunfight remained. Strand pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault and illegal possession of a firearm.

"While I believe these defendants should be held accountable for starting the series of events that ultimately led to Fanta Bility’s death, developments during the grand jury investigation render it appropriate to withdraw these charges at this time,” the DA said. The three officers were arraigned Tuesday and released on unsecured $500,000 bail. A law firm representing all three officers described the Aug. 27 incident as a "terrible tragedy that was caused by armed and violent criminals who turned a high school football game into a crime scene in which an innocent child lost her life," NBC reports. (Read more Pennsylvania stories.)

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