Three Officers Charged in Shooting Death of 8-Year-Old Girl Outside Football Game

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Three officers in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, are facing manslaughter charges for the August 2021 shooting death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility.

On Tuesday, the Delaware County district attorney revealed the 12 counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment against Officers Devon Smith, 33, Sean Dolan, 25, and Brian Devaney, 41, of the Sharon Hill Police Department, NPR reports.

The criminal charges come after a two-month grand jury investigation into the hail of bullets the officers unleashed at a car outside of a high school football game near Philadelphia on Aug. 27.

“Police have to be held accountable as everybody else is for deadly force,” District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said.

Murder charges against two teenage boys were dropped after prosecutors determined it was not their bullets that killed the young girl or injured any of the four other shooting victims. Sixteen-year-old Angelo “AJ” Ford and 18-year-old Hasein Strand were charged with first-degree murder in Bility’s death.

The three officers responded to a shootout that ensued between the two teens outside of a high school football game. Smith, Dolan, and Devaney fired 25 rounds that allegedly hit four people, including Bility and her 12-year-old sister, CBS News reports.

“They returned fire at the wrong target, in the wrong direction, and into a group of people. That is what they are being held accountable for,” Stollsteimer said.

Each officer has been charged with voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and 10 counts of reckless endangerment.

“We are now sure beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers not only shot but killed Fanta Bility, but they also wounded three other young people,” he told CBS News.

Bruce Castor, the attorney representing the Bility family, says Fanta “was a bright, bright, shining light, the kind of person that made people happy just by looking at her. And to have her gone is just a terrible, terrible tragedy.”

Fanta would have turned 9 last Saturday.