Police officers who killed 8-year-old girl to be terminated

They're charged with 12 counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

January 21, 2022, 11:41 AM

The three Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, police officers charged in the fatal shooting of an 8-year-old girl will be fired from the department.

The Sharon Hill Borough Council voted on Thursday in favor of relieving officers Brian Devaney, Devon Smith and Sean Dolan of their duties shortly after charges were filed by the district attorney's office.

The three men have been charged with 12 criminal counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment after firing their weapons toward a crowd of people who were exiting a football game at a high school stadium on Aug. 27, 2021. The gunfire killed Fanta Bility, 8, and wounded three others.

The charges were recommended by a grand jury.

PHOTO: Demonstrators gathered at Barclay's Center to march across the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 6, 2021 to honor the life of Fanta Bility, an 8-year-old girl killed by police fire outside a high school football game in Sharon Hill, Pa., on Aug. 27, 2021.
Demonstrators gathered at Barclay's Center and marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 6, 2021 to honor the life of Fanta Bility, an 8-year-old girl killed by police fire outside a Pennsylvania high school football game in Sharon Hill, Pa., on Aug. 27, 2021.
Karla Ann Cote/Associated Press, FILE

The officers were monitoring the crowd when two teens opened fire in a personal dispute close to the high school, according to the district attorney.

Investigators determined that two gunshots were fired in the direction of the officers, prosecutors said. The officers then discharged their weapons in the direction of the football field and the crowd exiting, ultimately shooting and killing Fanta.

Bail was set at $500,000 for each officer and preliminary hearings have been set for Jan. 27 in the Springfield District Court.

Attorneys for the officers did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

In a joint statement following the district attorney's announcement of the charges on Jan. 18, the attorneys stated that "this is a terrible tragedy that was caused by armed and violent criminals who turned a high school football game into a crime scene in which an innocent child lost her life and others were seriously injured.

PHOTO: Sharon Hill Police officers, Brian Devaney, Sean Dolan, Devon Smith, have been charged in connection with the death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility.
Sharon Hill Police officers, Brian Devaney, Sean Dolan, Devon Smith, have been charged in connection with the death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility.
Delaware County District Attorney’s Office

"These three officers ran to the sound of gunshots and risked their own lives to protect that community. These three good men are innocent, and remain heartbroken for all who have suffered because of this senseless violence," the statement read.

Delaware County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27 President Joseph Fitzgerald issued a statement supporting the officers on the organization's Facebook page.

"This is a sad day for our officers, who face criminal charges for trying to do their jobs and keeping the community safe," Fitzgerald wrote. "The FOP continues to support these fine officers and will provide a vigorous defense against these allegations."

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