(SHARON HILL, PA. ) — A town council near Philadelphia voted to fire three police officers days after charges were recommended over accusations they fired their weapons in the direction of a crowd leaving a high school football game, killing an 8-year-old girl and wounding three people.
While some members supported the officers, others were outraged and called for reforms in the police force.
On Tuesday, a grand jury recommended that Devon Smith and Sean Dolan be charged in connection to the shooting on Aug. 27, which resulted in Fanta Bility’s death. The charges against each of them included 10 counts of reckless Endangerment as well as one count each of manslaughter or involuntary murderer.
Angelo “AJ” Ford, 16, got into an argument with Hasein Strand, 19, and exchanged gunfire outside of the football game in the small borough just north of the Philadelphia International Airport. Authorities said that the gunfire involved two shots directed at the officers who were watching the crowd leave the football game.
They fired back at the officers, firing towards a car believed to be involved in the gunfire. The car was also struck by the officers and other members of the crowd. Later, investigators determined that the original gunfire was caused by a woman in the vehicle.
Strand has pleaded guilty in court to the charges of Aggravated Assault for wounding one of those children who were injured by gunfire, and also to unlawful possession of a weapon. Strand will spend 32 to 64 months imprisonment under terms of the plea bargain.
Ford is still facing charges for his “attempt to kill Strand,” authorities said.
Delaware County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge27 President Joseph Fitzgerald had previously issued a statement to support the officers.
“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.”