Three former Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, police officers pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in connection to the death of an 8-year-old girl who was killed after the officers fired shots into a populated area in August 2021.
Officers Sean Dolan, Brian Devaney and Devon Smith each faced 12 counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment for the shooting of 8-year-old Fanta Bility. Fox station WTXF in Philadelphia reported that all three officers were fired from the police force, as well.
The officers pleaded guilty to 10 counts of reckless endangerment as part of a deal with prosecutors, supported by the Bility family.
The family of Bility spoke at a press conference on Thursday about the plea deal.
"On this past year, the hurt caused by Sharon Hill Borough and its police department has overcome our family with tremendous grief," Abu Bility, Fanta’s uncle said. "The agony we feel constantly, we’re reliving the loss of our dear Fanta who was just 8 years old when she was killed by Sharon Hill police officers."
He said it was impossible to describe in words what Fanta’s mother and siblings witnessed when she was shot.
On Aug. 27, Fanta and her family were leaving a high school football game when two people engaged in a shooting in a crowd of people.
The two men shot toward the three officers who were there for crowd control, according to officials.
The officers then returned fire at a vehicle they believed was involved in the initial gunfire, authorities added, striking Fanta.
"It’s impossible to describe the words since her mother and her siblings witnessed this tragic incident," Bility said. "They will have to live with that trauma imprinted in their memories for the rest of their lives. We are still coming to grip with the reality that our beloved Fanta is gone forever."
Bility's family said they hoped the police officers' plea would help them begin to recover.
"We pray that as a result of police officers being held accountable, we can, as a family and as a community, finally have some closure and begin the healing process," Bility said.
Sentencing for the three officers is scheduled for Jan. 12.