Three Officers To Face Trial For Death Of Third Grader Killed After Football Game


screenshot via nbc10Philadelphia

Three former police officers have been charged with killing an eight-year-old when they fired 25 shots at a moving car as a nearby crowd left a high school football game in 2021. A Philadelphia judge ruled on Monday that the three will face trial on manslaughter charges.

Fanta and her family were leaving a Delaware County high school football game when a shooting erupted between two teens and prompted nearby officers to return fire. Fanta was fatally struck by the officer’s stray bullets. 

Initially, the two teens were charged with murder in Bility’s death, but those charges were dropped when the grand jury returned its indictment of the officers.

For months, prosecutors opposed the defense’s attempt to have the manslaughter charges thrown out. The prosecution argues that the former officers—Brian Devaney, 41, Sean Dolan, 25, and Devon Smith, 34—had not intended to kill the child, but nonetheless acted criminally when they fired at a car they wrongly thought contained gunmen, missed, and hit four spectators, including Fanta.

According to AP News, ballistics testing could not determine which officer fired the shot that killed Fanta. However, a grand jury recommended that all three face charges in the August 2021 death. The former officers are facing 12 criminal counts each, including manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

The officers were later fired by the small borough Sharon Hill’s Council. 

Further investigation revealed that Devaney was not wearing a body camera at the time, while Dolan and Smith did not turn theirs on.

The District Attorney, Jack Stollsteimer said the judge’s decision further proves the prosecution was justified in bringing manslaughter charges. “Each of the three officers shot at the same target, we are bringing charges against all three,” Stollsteimer told WPVI-TV.


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