On Tuesday, Sharon Hill police officers Devon Smith, 34, Sean Dolan, 25, and Brian Devaney, 41 were each charged with 12 counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment for the shooting death of Fanta Bility and for wounding four others, CBS 3 reported.
State Senator Anthony Williams, who for months has been demanding the officers involved face charges, reacted to the news and stated “Hopefully, it returns some level of credibility to the judicial process. We also have asked that those officers be terminated.”
On Aug. 27, 2021, following a football game at Academy Park-Pennsbury, 18-year-old Hasein Strand and 16-year-old Angelo “AJ” Ford had a verbal altercation. At some point they withdrew their guns and fired at one another, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The three officers had been monitoring the crowd at the game when they heard gunshots. They saw a car heading towards them and mistakenly believed the perpetrators involved in the shooting occupied the vehicle. Facing the direction of the football field, all three officers opened fire on the car. The officers fatally wounded the 8-year-old girl as she and her family were walking from the football game. Four others were also wounded in the crossfire.
A grand jury found the three officers collectively discharged their weapons 25 times.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said, “These officers made a split-second decision to return fire. We trust them to get that decision right and they got it horribly wrong.”
Bruce Castor, the attorney representing Fanta Bility’s family said in a statement that they were pleased with the charges the grand jury filed against the three officers, NBC 10 reported.
“The family appreciates that the District Attorney has kept the family informed at every stage of this investigation. From the beginning he assured them that he would seek justice for Fanta, and today’s charges indicate that he’s done exactly that. They made the right call” Castor said.
The borough will meet later this week to determine whether the officers will face termination, CBS 3 reported.