Pennsylvania police officers face criminal charges in connection with the fatal shooting of an eight-year-old girl at a high school football game in Sharon Hill five months ago, authorities announced on Jan. 18.
Sharon Hill Police Department Officers Devon Smith, Sean Dolan, and Brian Devaney were each criminal charged with 12 counts of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless endangerment for the death of Fanta Bility, District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer announced.
Authorities took the three officers into custody and are held in lieu of $500,000 bail for each of them.
The incident occurred on Aug. 27 after a football game near the Academy Park High School.
The gunfire erupted from a verbal argument between 18-year-old Hasein Strand and 16-year-old Angelo “AJ” Ford.
The officers were on patrol at the time and collectively fired 25 shots, killing Bility and injuring three others, the grand jury found.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 27 in the Springfield District Court.
In a joint statement, the officers denied wrongdoing.
“These three officers ran to the sounds of gunshots and risked their own lives to protect that community. These three good men are innocent and remain heartbroken for all who have suffered because of this senseless violence,” lawyers for the officers said.
Stollsteimer also announced that his office withdrew the murder charges against Strand and Ford.
Strand on Jan. 18 pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for injuring a child bystander and illegal possession of a firearm, according to prosecutors.
Strand will serve up to 64 months in prison.
Some charges against Ford are pending.
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