Three Pennsylvania police officers were charged in connection with the shooting death of an 8-year-old girl and the wounding of three other people outside a high school soccer game, authorities said.
Three police officers charged in shooting death of 8-year-old girl after shootout
Sharon Hill police officers Devon Smith, 34, Sean Dolan, 25, and Brian Devaney, 41, were charged with a total of 12 counts of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment for the Aug. 27 shooting, the Delaware County district attorney said Tuesday.
The shooting occurred outside Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill as fans were leaving a game against Pennsbury High School, prosecutors said.
Police said Angelo “AJ” Ford, 16, got into an argument with Hasein Strand, 19, that escalated into gunfire about a block from the stadium.
The three police officers were parked in front of the stadium exit as the fans were leaving and a car turned onto a street directly in front of them when the bullets rang out, according to District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.
Police officers “discharged their service weapons in the direction of the Academy Park soccer field,” Stollsteimer said.
Fanta Bility, 8, was killed in the hail of gunfire.
“We have now concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that it was, in fact, the officers’ gunfire that struck and killed Fanta Bility and injured three others,” Stollsteimer said.
“The entire district mourns Fanta Bility and we again extend our deepest condolences to his family and all those affected by the shooting,” the prosecutor’s statement read.
“Today’s indictment of our police officers brings us to another solemn moment. Today we must reflect on our safety, and on those they swore an oath to protect and serve,” he added.
Investigators determined that the officers opened fire in the direction of the soccer field after two shots were fired in their direction while surveilling the exiting crowd, prosecutors said.
The three officers were placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting.
Bail was set at $500,000 for each of them, and preliminary court hearings were set for Jan. 27.