Three officers involved in the August death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility outside of a high school football game near Philadelphia have been charged with 12 counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment, the Delaware County district attorney announced, NPR reports. A two-month-long grand jury investigation led to the filing of charges against officers Devon Smith, 33, Sean Dolan, 25, and Brian Devaney, 41, of the Sharon Hill Police Department, for firing a hail of bullets at a car amid crowds of people. The prosecutor withdrew murder charges against the two teenage boys who started the deadly confrontation on Aug. 27. Angelo "AJ" Ford, 16, and Hasein Strand, 18, had been charged with first-degree murder in Bility's death, even after prosecutors determined it was not their bullets that had killed the young girl or injured any of four other shooting victims.
According to D.A. Jack Stollsteimer, Strand "accepted responsibility for his role in this tragedy" by pleading guilty to aggravated assault for his wounding of a child bystander during the gunfight and illegal possession of a firearm. He will serve between 2 1/2 to 5 years in prison. "We have now concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that it was, in fact, shots from the officers that struck and killed Fanta Bility and injured three others," the district attorney's office said. Devaney, Dolan and Smith were taken into custody on $500,000 bail. They are expected to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 27.