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Sharon Hill police officers charged with killing 8-year-old Fanta Bility outside of football match

MEDIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) - Delaware County District Attorney on Tuesday announced charges against three Sharon Hill police officers in connection with the death of an 8-year-old girl and the wounding of three others following a football game on August 27, 2021.

Officers Devon Smith, Sean Dolan and Brian Devaney are each charged with a total of 12 criminal counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

"From the moment the call came on August 27, my team of investigators and prosecutors has worked tirelessly to bring justice to Fanta and the other victims of the tragic night. Today's prosecution is a major step forward in that process," District Attorney Jack said Stollsteimer.

SEE ALSO: New details emerge in death shot of an 8-year-old girl at Academy Park High School football game

The shooting happened on the night of August 27 at Academy Park High School in the 900 block of Coates Street in Sharon Hill.

That shot included two shots fired at the three officers who were monitoring the crowd that left the school stadium after tonight's football game.

Police officers then allegedly fired their weapons in the direction of the Academy Park football field.

A total of four people were shot. Among them was 8-year-old Fanta Bility, who was fatally wounded.

On September 2, 2021, officials announced that there was a high probability that the shot from the officers hit the four victims, including Fanta.

"We have now concluded beyond any reasonable doubt that it was in fact shots fired by the officers that hit and killed Fanta Bility and injured three others," Stollsteimer said in a press release.

Officials said the first shots on Coates Street began with a verbal altercation at the football game between Angelo "AJ" Ford, 16, of Sharon Hill, and Hasein Strand, 18, of Collingdale.

SEE ALSO: 2nd teenager arrested in connection with fatal shooting at 8-year-old Fanta Bility

Ford is charged with felony criminal mischief for attempting to kill Strand, officials said. Meanwhile, Strand has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for his role in injuring one of the children who was shot and for illegal possession of a firearm.

In a press release, a spokesman said under the terms of the agreement that Strand will serve between 32 and 64 months in prison.

Stollsteimer's office also announced on Tuesday that charges of murder in connection with Bility's killings were withdrawn against Ford and Strand.

"I am fully aware that Fantas' tragic death and the trauma inflicted on her family, the other victims and members of society involved has been emotionally exhausting for everyone, including the investigators and prosecutors designated. No one affected by this incident will ever be affected by this incident.the same.I hope today's communication will help society begin to heal through the knowledge that all the people who fired weapons that night will be held accountable for their actions under our laws, said Stollsteimer.

The bond was set at $ 500,000, unsecured, for each defendant. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 27.

Attorney Bruce Castor, who represents the Bility family in a federal civil rights case, gave this reaction on behalf of the family.

"They are very, very satisfied. The police, obviously at everyone's expense, thought they had the right to shoot the car. They were wrong and they were dramatically wrong," Castor said.

Following the publication of the indictments, Delaware County FOP Lodge 27 President Joseph Fitzgerald issued the following statement:

"This is a sad day for our officers, who face criminal charges for trying to carry out their work and keep society safe. FOP continues to support these fine officers and will provide a strong defense against these allegations."

"Our members have served the Sharon Hill community with respect and integrity, and we ask the public for continued patience as this case moves through the criminal justice system."

In a separate statement, Sharon Hill Council President Tanya Allen responded to the news.

"Sharon Hill's heart is still broken. The whole town is mourning Fanta Bility and we once again give our deepest sympathy to her family and all those affected by the shooting. Today's indictment against our police officers brings us to another solemn moment. we reflect on our safety and on those who have sworn to protect and serve.We respect the legal process and while we have been patient in our approach now that the grand jury has completed its investigation and given the serious allegations issued by the district attorney, we are able to move forward with measures that will hold the officers accountable. "

See the full criminal complaints below:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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