IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Two Pennsylvania teens charged in death of 8-year-old killed outside game by police gunfire

Prosecutors said they determined the teenagers' actions initiated the "responsive gunfire by the officers" that left three bystanders wounded and Fanta Bility dead.

Two Pennsylvania teenagers have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Fanta Bility, an 8-year-old girl who was killed by police gunfire outside a high school football game in August.

The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office determined the teenagers initiated the deadly shooting when they exchanged gunfire Aug. 27 outside an Academy Park High School football game in Sharon Hill, a small community of about 5,700 residents less than 2 miles north of Philadelphia International Airport. One person caught in the crossfire was wounded.

One of the suspects, a 16-year-old Sharon Hill boy, was arrested Wednesday, DA Jack Stollsteimer said in a press release. NBC News does not usually name minors charged with a crime, even those charged as adults.

8-year-old Fanta Bility.
8-year-old Fanta Bility.NBC 10 Philadelphia

Hasein Strand, 18, of Collingdale, turned himself in later, the DA's office said.

In addition to first-degree murder, both suspects have been charged with five counts of attempted murder, five counts of recklessly endangering another person, as well as gun-related charges, according to the criminal complaints.

The teens got into an argument at the game and “exchanged multiple gun shots with each other” in the 900 block of Coates Street in Sharon Hill, Stollsteimer said.

The gunfire “precipitated the responsive discharge of weapons by police officers stationed near the entrance to the football stadium,” the DA’s office said. “This responsive gunfire by the officers wounded three bystanders and tragically killed Fanta Bility.”

The DA’s office said the teens should “both be held criminally liable for the murder of Fanta Bility, as well as for the wounding of all the bystanders.”

Fanta was killed by a single gunshot wound to the torso, according to the Delaware County Medical Examiner. 

"The killing of Fanta Bility was a tragedy not just for her family, but for the entire Delaware County community,” Stollsteimer said. "Today’s arrests begin the criminal process for those that initiated the deadly events of Aug. 27 by shooting to kill at a high school football game."

The DA’s office is continuing a review of the actions of all parties involved. A grand jury will review the case Nov. 18 and determine whether the police officers’ use of deadly force was justified. 

In September, Stollsteimer’s office issued preliminary findings in the investigation which determined that when officers returned fire, they likely struck four members of the crowd, including the shots that killed Bility and wounded her sister. 

The officers involved, who have not been named, were placed on paid administrative leave, the Sharon Hill council said at the time.