Officials vote to fire 3 Pennsylvania officers accused of fatally shooting 8-year-old girl




  • In US
  • 2022-01-21 06:06:08Z
  • By NBC News

Officials in Pennsylvania voted Thursday to fire three police officers charged in the fatal shooting of an 8-year-old girl outside a high school football game last year.

The Sharon Hill Borough Council voted 6-1 during the public meeting to fire the officers, Council President Tanya Allen said in an email to NBC News.

The development came two days after the officers, Devon Smith, 34, Sean Dolan, 25, and Brian Devaney, 41, were each charged with voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment in the Aug. 27 shooting that left Fanta Bility dead and three others wounded.

8-year-old Fanta Bility.
8-year-old Fanta Bility.  

Two teenagers were initially charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in the killing, but Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said Tuesday that authorities had "concluded beyond a reasonable doubt" that the officers' gunfire killed Fanta.

The shooting erupted outside a football game at Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill, just north of Philadelphia.

Stollsteimer said the teens opened fire at each other during an argument, prompting a "responsive discharge of weapons" by the three officers, who were stationed near the stadium's entrance.

Fanta was killed by a single gunshot wound to her torso.

The murder charges against the teens were later withdrawn. One of the teens pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault for wounding a child bystander and illegal possession of a firearm. Charges against the other teen are pending.

The officers did not attend Thursday's meeting, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, and their lawyers did not respond to requests for comment after the meeting.

But in a joint statement Tuesday, the lawyers said Fanta's killing was a "terrible tragedy that was caused by armed and violent criminals who turned a high school football game into a crime scene in which an innocent child lost her life and others were seriously injured."

"These three officers ran to the sounds of gunshots and risked their own lives to protect that community," the statement said. "These three good men are innocent and remain heartbroken for all who have suffered because of this senseless violence."

A lawyer for Fanta's family called the decision to charge the officers "the right call," adding that it signaled authorities were seeking justice for the girl's family.

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