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Three officers charged in shooting death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility near Philadelphia

Officers charged in fatal shooting of 8-year-old
Officers charged in fatal shooting of 8-year-old Fanta Bility 01:58

Nearly five months after the shooting death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility, three police officers in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, were charged in connection with her death. 

Following a grand jury investigation, officers Devon Smith, Sean Dolan and Brian Devaney were each charged with voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and 10 counts of reckless endangerment. 

Shooting Outside Football Game
In this photo provided by the Delaware County District Attorney's Office on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, Sharon Hill Police officers Brian Devaney, left, Sean Dolan, and Devon Smith are shown.  AP

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said he initially determined the fatal bullet was from an officer's gun in September. 

"We are now sure beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers not only shot but killed Fanta Bility, but they also wounded three other young people," he told CBS News. 

The young girl was killed in August after two teens exchanged gunfire at the end of a high school football game. The three responding officers fired 25 rounds, allegedly striking four people, including Bility and her 12-year-old sister. 

"They returned fire at the wrong target, in the wrong direction, and into a group of people. That is what they are being held accountable for," Stollsteimer said. 

Bruce Castor, the attorney representing the Bility family, said the young girl "was a bright, bright, shining light, the kind of person that made people happy just by looking at her. And to have her gone is just a terrible, terrible tragedy." 

Bility would have turned 9 last Saturday. 

Shooting Outside Football Game
Protesters call for police accountability in the death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility at the Delaware County Courthouse in Media, Pennsylvania, on January 13, 2022.  Matt Rourke / AP

Initially, the two teens who opened fire at each other were the only ones charged in her death. The district attorney is now withdrawing the murder charges against the teens. They still face other charges. 

"What we're trying to do here is hold everyone accountable for their actions that night, and also to make sure that we can as a community at the end of this begin to heal," Stollsteimer said. 

The officers' attorneys released a joint statement maintaining their innocence, saying they rushed to the sound of gunshots and risked their own lives to protect the community. Their preliminary hearing is set for January 27. 

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