POLICE

3 Pennsylvania officers charged with manslaughter in fatal shooting of 8-year-old Fanta Bility

Jan 19, 2022, 7:29 AM
FILE - Protesters call for police accountability in the death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility who was sh...
FILE - Protesters call for police accountability in the death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility who was shot outside a football game, at the Delaware County Courthouse in Media, Pa., Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. Three police officers have been charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment after firing their weapons into a crowd of people exiting a high school football game outside of Philadelphia, killing Bility and injuring three people. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(CNN) — Three Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, police officers were charged Tuesday in connection with the shooting death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility while she exited a high school football game on August 27, prosecutors said.

Officers Devon Smith, Sean Dolan and Brian Devaney each were charged with one count of voluntary manslaughter, one count of involuntary manslaughter and 10 counts of reckless endangerment, according to the criminal complaints.

Manslaughter charges were “appropriate” in this case rather than murder in the third degree because there was no evidence of malice, a news release from Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer’s office sates. Bail was set at $500,000, unsecured, for each defendant and a preliminary hearing set for January 27 in state court.

CNN has reached out to all three officers and their attorneys for comment, as well as the Sharon Hill Police Department.

Fanta was killed after two teens, Angelo “AJ” Ford and Hasein Strand, opened fire in a dispute outside a suburban Philadelphia high school football game, according to the complaint. In response, the three officers, who were monitoring the exit of the football game, fired at a vehicle moving on the street between the officers and the football stadium and spectators leaving the game.

The officers’ shots struck four people as they were leaving, including Fanta, whose injuries were fatal, according to the complaints. Shots from the officers also struck a car driven by two girls going to the football game that had no involvement in the original altercation between Ford and Strand, according to the complaints.

Investigators recovered 25 9mm cartridge casings from the area where the officers fired, with ballistic evidence matching them to the officers’ service weapons, according to the complaint.

Stollsteimer also directed his office to withdraw murder charges against Ford and Strand for their role in Fanta’s killing, the prosecutor announced Tuesday.

“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,” Stollsteimer said in the release.

Strand pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault and illegal possession of a firearm for his role in the August 27 events. He will serve a prison term of 32 to 64 months and will remain under court supervision until 2030, per the terms of his plea, according to the release.

Ford still faces attempted murder, aggravated assault and gun possession charges, according to the district attorney’s office.

CNN has reached out to the public defender representing Ford and Strand for comment.

“From the moment the call came in on August 27, my team of investigators and prosecutors has worked tirelessly to achieve justice for Fanta and the other victims of that tragic night. Today’s charges are a big step forward in that process,” Stollsteimer said in the release.

“I am convinced the DA’s office and grand jury did exactly what they should have done,” Bility family attorney Bruce Castor said Tuesday in a statement to CNN. “I am very pleased with how the DA’s office handled the case and the Bility family is likewise very impressed.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

Police

Two Murray police cruisers are shown...
Mark Jones

Murray Police warning public to be on lookout for scam

Several reports of a scam have been reported in Murray. According to police, a caller pretends to be from the Murray Police Department and attempts to notify a person of a warrant and insists the person pay the bail amount.
22 hours ago
A three-vehicle crash Friday afternoon sent two people to the hospital. Photo credit: Marissa Cox....
Mark Jones

Three-vehicle crash in Stansbury Park sends two people to hospital

A three-vehicle crash Friday afternoon in Stansbury Park sent two people to the hospital.
22 hours ago
Salt Lake County DA's office pictured, it just declined to call an incident an officer-involved cri...
Samantha Herrera

Salt Lake County DA says police chase that ended in a fatal crash was not an officer-involved critical incident

The DA's office found that a police chase turned crash did not meet the criteria for an officer-involved critical incident.
22 hours ago
(Getty Images)...
Mark Jones

21-year-old man sentenced for multiple sex crimes

A 21-year-old man was sentenced Wednesday for four sex crimes he pled guilty to in August.
2 days ago
Orem police at scene of swat standoff...
Samantha Herrera

Man in custody after hours of negotiation in Orem home

A possible Orem City SWAT situation has police officers on scene in a neighborhood around 700 E, 400 S. Police have not provided any information yet.
2 days ago
Police in Elko, Nev., are seeking the public's assistance in locating a suspect in connection to fi...
Mark Jones

Nevada police searching for suspect who fired into at least three buildings

Police in Elko, Nevada, say someone shot a firearm into at least three different businesses on Monday night. Police say there were no injuries reported.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
3 Pennsylvania officers charged with manslaughter in fatal shooting of 8-year-old Fanta Bility