3 Pennsylvania Cops Charged With Killing 8-Year-Old Fanta Bility
Bility was shot and killed after officers shot at a vehicle during a high school football game on Aug. 27 in suburban Philadelphia.
January 20, 2022 at 6:55 pm
Three Pennsylvania police officers have been charged in the killing of 8-year-old Fanta Bility, CNN reports.
Bility was shot and killed after officers shot at a vehicle during a high school football game on Aug. 27 in Sharon Hill, a suburb of Philadelphia.
Devon Smith, Sean Dolan and Brian Devaney are accused of firing shots that killed Bility. A grand jury indicted the officers, charging them each with 12 counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment, according to NPR.
Witnesses said two teenagers, Angelo “AJ” Ford, 16, and Hasein Strand, 18, were seen arguing with each other, which led to a shootout between the two. Officers then assisted onlookers to safety after the gunfire erupted.
Smith, Dolan and Devaney, who were on duty at the time, allegedly fired their weapons toward the stadium, killing Bility and injuring three others.
“These officers made a split-second decision to return fire. We trust them to get that decision right and they got it horribly wrong,” District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said, according to News One.
“From the moment the call came in on Aug. 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,” he added.
Initially, the two teens were arrested for the killing of Bility, and both were charged with first-degree murder. However, a grand jury overturned Stollsteimer’s decision and dismissed the case against the two. Authorities say Ford is still facing charges in the attempted murder of Strand.
“I fully realize that the tragic death of Fanta and the trauma inflicted on her family, the other victims and community members involved, has been emotionally draining to all, including the investigators and prosecutors assigned,” Stollsteimer said, according to the Washington Examiner. “No one touched by this incident will ever be the same.”
Bruce Castor, the attorney for Bility’s family, said the family appreciates the grand jury’s resolve in the matter.
“They are very, very pleased,” Castor said, according to News One. “The police, clearly by everybody’s account, thought they had the right to shoot the car. They were wrong and they were dramatically wrong.”
A judge set a $500,000 bail for Ford and Strand. Both defendants will have to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 27.