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3 Pennsylvania officers sentenced to probation in the fatal shooting of 8-year-old Fanta Bility

By Zenebou Sylla, CNN

Three former Pennsylvania police officers were sentenced Friday to probation in connection with the 2021 shooting death of an 8-year-old girl as she left a high school football game with her family in a Philadelphia suburb, prosecutors said.

Brian Devaney, Sean Dolan and Devon Smith were sentenced to five years of probation, with the first 11 months on house arrest, said Margie McAboy, a spokesperson for the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office.

The former officers had pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment charges in November 2022 after officials say one of their bullets struck the girl as they fired shots in response to what turned out to be a gunfight.

Eight-year-old Fanta Bility was shot and killed in August 2021 as she was leaving a high school football game with her family in Sharon Hill, a suburb of Philadelphia. Gunfire rang out near the Academy Park High School stadium as people were leaving the game. Officials say the shooting happened after a verbal confrontation between a group of young men escalated into gunfire.

The three officers, who were at the high school, heard the gunfire and fired at a vehicle moving on the street between the officers and the football stadium as spectators were leaving the game. Fanta and her family were inside the vehicle.

Three others were also injured during the incident, including Fanta’s 12-year-old sister.

The three former Sharon Hill officers were fired after being charged with manslaughter and 10 counts of reckless endangerment in the shooting.

Investigators were not able to make a determination of the officer who shot the fatal bullet that killed Fanta, McAboy said.

CNN has reached out to attorneys representing Devaney, Dolan and Smith for comment.

The initial shots were fired by two teenagers, who were charged with murder, though they did not fire the bullet that killed Fanta. That gunfight led the officers to shoot, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said after the two were charged in 2021.

The prosecutor later withdrew the murder charges.

Fanta was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. She was killed by a single gunshot wound to the torso, according to the Delaware County Medical Examiner.

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