Police in Pa. Fired into a Car and Killed Girl, 8, but Teens Who Allegedly Started Violence Are Charged

Four other people were injured by police gunfire during the Aug. 27 incident, including victim Fanta Bility's older sister

Fanta Bility
Fanta Bility. Photo: Facebook

Authorities have filed first-degree murder, aggravated assault and weapons charges against two teens who allegedly started a gunfight outside a Pennsylvania high school football game, which preceded the fatal police shooting of an 8-year-old girl.

According to Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, a 16-year-old is currently in custody without bail for his alleged role in the Aug. 27 death of Fanta Bility outside Academy Park High School. (PEOPLE is not naming the 16-year-old suspect because it was not immediately clear if he's being charged as an adult.)

A second person charged in the shooting — identified as 18-year-old Hasein Strand — remains the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

A statement from Stollsteimer confirms earlier reports that Fanta was killed by a bullet that was fired by one of three Sharon Hill police officers who were on hand to manage the crowd leaving Academy Park High School after the football team's victory over Pennsbury High School.

Stollsteimer has not identified the officer who shot the fatal bullet, but all three have acknowledged firing on the vehicle holding Fanta.

The officers say they mistakenly believed the vehicle was involved in the shooting between the 16-year-old and Strand, which unfolded about a block away from the stadium.

The little girl was shot once in the back, according to prosecutors. Fanta was dead before ambulances could arrive.

Four other people were injured by police gunfire, including Fanta's older sister.

The two suspects exchanged gunfire following a verbal argument, investigators allege, which resulted in an injury sustained by one person.

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"Under the laws of this Commonwealth, my office has determined that [the 16-year-old] and Strand should both be held criminally liable for the murder of Fanta Bility, as well as for the wounding of all of the bystanders," Stollsteimer said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear if either suspect has a lawyer.

A grand jury will convene on Nov. 18 to consider possible criminal charges against the three officers.

Fanta's relatives spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer shortly after her death, and said the "sweet, loving, funny" child had a smile that could light up a room.

"We are hurt, and we need justice," Fanta's aunt, identified only as Fatima, told the paper. "She didn't deserve this. She was an innocent girl. She did nothing wrong, and she never hurt anyone."

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