The 8-year-old girl struck and killed by gunfire outside the stadium of Academy Park High School in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, was likely hit by local police officers' bullets as they shot back at one or more gunmen, the district attorney said Thursday.
Fanta Bility was killed, and her sister was injured, in the shootout Friday night as fans and families left the stadium in Sharon Hill following a game between Academy Park and Pennsbury High School of Fairless Hills in Bucks County.
Fanta Bility and her family were outside the stadium when the bullets started flying shortly before 9 p.m. in what police initially described as a drive-by shooting.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said someone started shooting, including in the direction of three Sharon Hill officers who were monitoring the departure of the crowd from the game.
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"In response to the gunfire, the police officers discharged their service weapons," Stollsteimer said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. "Tragically, our investigation has now determined that there is a high probability that the responsive gunfire of the Sharon Hill Police Officers struck four victims, including the shots that killed 8-year-old Fanta Bility and wounded her sister. The death of Fanta and the wounding of her sister and the other students are a heart-breaking tragedy for her family, her friends, and the entire Delaware County community."
Stollsteimer added that investigators have yet to arrest those believed to have fired the initial shots. Three people were initially detained and later released from custody. No charges have been filed.
"I am asking again for the community’s help in identifying all the individuals involved in the altercation and the gunfire on Coates Street that led to this tragedy. My staff and I grieve for the Bility family, who I met with again this morning, as well as the other victims," Stollsteimer said. "My promise to them and to the Sharon Hill community is that we will continue this investigation for as long as it takes until every question is answered and justice is done."
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A local reporter at the game tweeted a photo of players for the visiting team, Pennsbury High School, running for the press box for cover. He later tweeted that coaches for both teams said all players were accounted for. Pennsbury is a high school in Fairless Hills, Bucks County.