3 Pennsylvania cops plead guilty to fatal shooting of Fanta Bility
Three former Pennsylvania police officers accused of killing an 8-year-old girl when they opened fire on a crowd exiting a high school football game have pleaded guilty to their deaths.
Fanta Bility was leaving the game with her mother and 12-year-old sister in August 2021 when gunfire broke out between officers – Brian Devaney, 42, Sean Dolan, 26, and Devon Smith, 35 – and a group of teenagers.
Fanta was blasted in the chest and died from her injuries after being rushed to the hospital. Two other children, including her sister, were also injured in the mess.
The former Sharon Hill police officers each pleaded guilty to 10 counts of reckless endangerment for their part in Fanta’s death, a spokesman for the Delaware County Attorney’s Office told CNN.
The men were each originally charged with an additional charge of manslaughter and a charge of involuntary manslaughter, but the charges were dropped as part of the plea deal, 6 ABC reported.
The young girl’s family agreed to the plea deal as it meant that Devaney, Dolan and Smith admitted they had wrongfully killed Fanta.
One of the three officers reportedly fired the fatal shot when he was shot at and returned fire, prosecutor Jack Stollsteimer said at the time. All three officers fired their guns. Five people, including Fanta, were hit.
“Over the past year, the injuries inflicted by Sharon Hill Borough and his Police Department have overwhelmed my family with tremendous sadness,” Billy’s family said in a statement. “Words cannot describe the agony we always feel as we witness the loss of our dear Fanta, who was just 8 years old when she was killed by Sharon Hill police.”
“Because her mother and siblings witnessed this tragic incident, they will have to live with this trauma for the rest of their lives, which is etched in their memories.”
Her family remembers Fanta as a brave girl who loved making TikTok videos and had a passion for fashion.
“She had her own style and was very confident,” Fanta’s cousin Mariam Sanoe said last year. “She was funny. She made everyone laugh. Everyone loved her in the church.”
The officer is expected to be sentenced on January 12.