More than a month after an 8-year-old Delaware County girl was shot dead by what investigators believe was police gunfire, representatives for her family and the community continue to push for accountability.
Bruce Castor, the attorney representing Fanta Bility’s family, as well as state Sen. Anthony Williams (D–8th District) said they were dissatisfied with the response to the girl’s death on the part of leaders from Sharon Hill, where she was killed.
“The behavior of Sharon Hill and its leadership is less than desirable,” Castor said, adding that he is “surprised” that leaders “have not been more forthcoming and have not been more sympathetic in their public pronouncements.”
Fanta was killed Aug. 27 as three police officers opened fire while people were leaving the Academy Park High School stadium following a football game. Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said there had been another shooting nearby, and when a car turned directly in front of the officers, who were positioned near the stadium exit, they fired their service weapons.
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Four of the five people who were shot, including Fanta, were struck with “near certainty” by the police officers, investigators concluded.
Williams accused Sharon Hill police and borough leaders of failing to reach out to Fanta's
family in the aftermath of the shooting. Sean Kilkenny, the solicitor for the borough, said in an email that he had personally spoken to Castor, the family’s attorney, on Monday of this week and pledged to “continue to keep him updated.”
Kilkenny added that the borough’s mayor and council members welcome Stollsteimer’s calls for a grand jury investigation, and he noted that the council in its Sept. 16 meeting enlisted former Philadelphia District Attorney Kelley Hodge to conduct an investigation into the police department’s “policies and procedures to include the conduct of the Officers involved in the incident.”
“The entire Borough family grieves for Fanta Billity’s family and all those affected by the Academy Park High School Football Game Shooting,” Kilkenny wrote.
Williams called for Sharon Hill police officers to receive “culturally competent training,” as well as yearly training on de-escalation methods.
And, he said, the officers involved in Fanta's shooting should apologize and be fired instead of being placed on their current administrative leave.
“We believe that if indeed officers were involved in this tragic shooting of Fanta, they should be terminated,” Williams said, adding Fanta's killing represented “a gross and negligent error in judgement.”