MEDIA, Pa. (CBS) -- A 16-year-old has been charged for his role in the death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility at an Academy Park High School Football game last summer, the Delaware County District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday. Angelo "AJ" Ford, of Sharon Hill, has been arrested on multiple charges, including first-degree murder, in the fatal shooting that took place on Aug. 27.
Hasein Strand, 18, of Collingdale, is also charged and is currently being sought by law enforcement.
The DA's office says the charges against Ford and Strand are based on information obtained by detectives.
A witness told investigators they observed Ford on Coates Street just outside the football game as the game ended. He was reportedly flashing a firearm that was inside his waistband and was heard making threats to others on the street.
Ford began shooting in a westbound direction toward Ridley Avenue and the witness says Strand shot back at Ford in the direction of the football field. The witness identified Strand in a photo as the person shooting back at Ford.
Another witness reportedly spoke to Strand following the shooting and says Strand said there had been tension inside the football stadium between Ford and Strand's group of friends. Authorities say Strand told the witness that Ford began to flash his gun to him when exiting the stadium and he took his brother's vehicle to retrieve his firearm before walking back to Coates Street where Ford was.
That's when Ford apparently fired shots and Strand returned fire.
Uniformed Sharon Hill Police officers who were supervising the exit of spectators from the football field as the game ended were about 140 feet from a victim who was struck by the gunfire on the south sidewalk of Coates Street.
Officers discharged their weapons immediately upon hearing the shots fired by Ford and Strand. Four other victims suffered gunshot wounds after being struck by returning police gunfire while standing on the ramp inside the football field area off Coates Street. Eight-year-old Fanta Bility was one of those victims.
She was rushed to an area hospital by police but succumbed to her injuries. Two of the other victims suffered graze wounds and one was shot in the foot.
Twenty-one 9 MM casings were recovered at the scene.
"The killing of Fanta Bility was a tragedy not just for her family, but for the entire Delaware County community. Today's arrests begin the criminal process for those that initiated the deadly events of August 27th by shooting to kill at a high school football game," said Stollsteimer. "Still, the pursuit of justice for Fanta demands that my office continue its comprehensive review of the actions of all parties involved in the tragic chain of events. On November 18th, a Grand Jury composed of Delaware County residents will be seated to review the entire case, so that it may be determined whether the police officers' use of deadly force was justified."
The Sharon Hill Borough Council released a statement following the charges:
"Sharon Hill Borough Council hopes that justice will be served for Fanta Billity with the filing of First Degree Murder charges against AJ Ford and Hasein Strand by District Attorney Stollsteimer. Borough Council is aware the District Attorney's Grand Jury investigation is ongoing and awaits the findings of that investigation into the criminal culpability of Sharon Hill Police Officers. The Grand Jury will determine whether the Police Officers' use of deadly force was justified in response to AJ Ford and Hasein Strand firing their weapons at each other. To further accountability of all those involved, at its public Council meeting on September 16th the Borough engaged former Philadelphia District Attorney Kelley Hodge of Fox-Rothschild, LLP to conduct an administrative investigation into our Police Department's policies and procedures to include the conduct of the officers involved in the incident. Ms. Hodge's administrative investigation is ongoing."
Ford is in custody and will be transferred to George W. Hill Correctional Facility following his arraignment. He will be held without bond.
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