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Ex-PA Officers Plead Guilty in Fatal Shooting of 8-Year-Old Girl

Three former Pennsylvania police officers each pleaded guilty to 10 counts of reckless endangerment in the fatal shooting of an 8-year-old girl outside a high school football game last year, according to the Delaware County district attorney. The former officers, Devon Smith, Sean Dolan and Brian Devaney, of the police department in Sharon Hill, a Philadelphia suburb, were each charged with a total of 12 counts — including both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment — in the death of Fanta Bility. The manslaughter charges were dropped as part of the plea deal, according to District Attorney, Jack Stollsteimer, the New York Times reports.

The officers, who were fired in January, are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 12. On Aug. 21, 2021, police were monitoring a crowd outside the football field at Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill when gunfire erupted. With a few minutes left in the game, most people were headed toward the exits. Two shots were fired “in the direction of” the officers, who responded by firing “in the direction of” the stadium, prosecutors said. The officers also fired toward a car they mistakenly believed had been the source of the initial gunshots, prosecutors said. Overall, they said, the officers fired a total of 25 shots, killing Fanta and wounding her older sister and two other people. Fanta, the daughter of West African immigrants, had attended the game to watch her sister, a cheerleader, and a cousin who was a football player.

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