Delaware County

2 Charged in Gunfire Outside Football Game That Killed Little Girl

The suspects were charged with murder in a shooting outside a game in Sharon Hill, south of Philadelphia. They allegedly shot at each other when police officers opened fire on them. The girl was likely killed by police bullets, the local prosecutor has said.

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Two teenagers from Delaware County are charged with murder and related offenses for the death of an 8-year-old girl hit by gunfire outside a high school football game this summer, the local district attorney said Wednesday.

A 16-year-old youth from Sharon Hill would face first-degree murder and other charges in the death of Fanta Bility during a shootout that also injured four others. Prosecutors said Hasein Strand, 18 of Collingdale, will also face charges, but is not yet in custody and being sought. NBC10 is not identifying the 16-year-old.

District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer alleges that the two argued at the Aug. 27 game between Pennsbury and Academy Park high schools outside Academy Park's stadium in Sharon Hill. They then “exchanged multiple gunshots with each other" outside as spectators were leaving the game, wounding one person caught in the crossfire.

Authorities have said that three Sharon Hill officers were positioned opposite the exit, and as the gunfire broke out a car turned onto the street directly in front of the them. The gunfire and the movement of the vehicle “precipitated responsive gunfire" from the officers, and ballistics analysis had “concluded with near certainty" that their fire hit four of the five victims in the crowd, including the child, Stollsteimer said earlier. Final forensic reports are awaited.

“Under the laws of this commonwealth, my office has determined that (the defendants) should both be held criminally liable for the murder of Fanta Bility, as well as for the wounding of all of the bystanders,” Stollsteimer said.

He said an investigative grand jury would be seated Nov. 18 to “review the entire case, so that it may be determined whether the police officers’ use of deadly force was justified.” The jury is to hear testimony, compile a report and issue a presentment if charges are warranted. Sharon Hill has hired a former Philadelphia district attorney to conduct an administrative review of the department’s policies and procedures on police use of deadly force.

The Associated Press filed a request for dash cam and body cam footage related to the shooting, which was denied by borough officials citing an ongoing criminal investigation.

Sharon Hill borough is a small community of about 5,700 residents less than 2 miles north of Philadelphia International Airport.

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