Three ex-police officers from Pennsylvania were accused of shooting at a crowd leaving a high-school football game and killing an eight-year-old girl. They pleaded guilty.
Fanta Bility was exiting the August 2021 game with her mom and 12-year-old sister when gunfire erupted between the officers — Brian Devaney, 42, Sean Dolan, 26, and Devon Smith, 35 — and a group of teenagers.
Fanta, who was struck in the chest, died shortly after she was taken to the hospital. The chaos also left two other children, including her sister.
The former Sharon Hill cops each pleaded guilty to 10 counts of reckless endangerment for their involvement in Fanta’s death, a spokesperson from the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office CNN.
Each of the men were initially charged with one additional count of manslaughter as well as one count involuntary murderslaughter. However, the charges were dropped as part the plea bargain. 6 ABC reported.
The young girl’s family approved of the plea deal since it meant Devaney, Dolan and Smith admitted they wrongfully killed Fanta.
One of the three officers who fired the fatal shot was also shot at, and he returned fire, DA Jack Stollsteimer stated at the time. All three officers discharged their firearms. Five people were also struck, including Fanta.
“Over this past year, the hurt caused by Sharon Hill Borough and its police department has overcome my family with tremendous grief,” Bility’s family said in a statement. “The agony we feel constantly reliving the loss of our dear Fanta who was just 8 years old when she was killed by Sharon Hill police officers, is impossible to describe with words.”
“Since her mother and siblings were witnesses to this tragic incident, they will have to live with that trauma imprinted in their memories for the rest of their lives.”
Fanta’s family will remember her as a spunky, fashion-loving girl.
“She had her own style, and she was very confident,” Fanta’s cousin Mariam Sanoe said last year. “She was funny. She made everybody laugh. Everybody loved her in the community.”
They are likely to be sentenced Jan. 12.