'Near certainty' gunfire from police killed 8-year-old girl following Delaware County football game, DA says
SHARON HILL, Pa. - The Delaware County District Attorney's Office revealed that with "near certainty" gunfire from police killed 8-year-old Fanta Bility and injured four others following a football game.
On Aug. 27, a group of men were engaged in a verbal confrontation that turned into gunfire on the 900 block of Coates Street, which is one block from the entrance of the Academy Park High School football stadium. The confrontation happened around the same time spectators were leaving the stadium at Academy Park High School.
Multiple .45 caliber and .9-millimeter shell casings were recovered, according to investigators. Authorities have identified suspects and persons of interest involved in the confrontation and hope a further investigation will lead to the arrest of those involved.
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According to the Delaware County District Attorney's Office, three Sharon Hill police officers were positioned opposite the area used by spectators to exit the stadium. As the gunfire erupted, a car turned onto Coates Street directly in front of the officers.
Investigators say the gunfire, combined with the movement of the vehicle, precipitated responsive gunfire from the Sharon Hill police officers. Initial ballistics analysis has concluded with near certainty that four of the five gunshot victims, including Fanta Bility, were struck by shots fired by police.
The Delaware County District Attorney's Office is conducting a review of the legality of the officers' discharge of weapons. The three officers have been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation.
A law firm is conducting an administrative review of the Sharon Hill Police Department policies and procedures related to police use of deadly force.
"To aid the investigation of the officers’ use of deadly force, I have petitioned our President Judge to impanel an investigative grand jury. Under Pennsylvania law, grand juries are panels composed of lay citizens who listen to and consider evidence presented by prosecutors. If the investigative grand jury believes the evidence presented by the prosecution warrants the filing of criminal charges against an individual or individuals, an investigative grand jury presentment will be issued," District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said.
Now that the investigation has moved to the grand jury phase, no further updates are expected from the Delaware County District Attorney's Office
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