Sharon Hill police officers responding to gunfire may have killed an 8-year-old girl and injured her sister after a football game at Academy Park High School last Friday night.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer issued a press release saying the officers were responding to what police described as a drive-by shooting that had injured a civilian on the 900 block of Coates Street after the game. In response, the three officers fired their weapons, apparently hitting the girls and two others.
The investigation remains in its preliminary stages. No one has been charged.
Stollsteimer issued a plea to the community for witnesses to come forward.
“Our investigation has now determined that there is a high probability that the responsive gunfire of the Sharon Hill police officers struck four victims, including the shots that killed 8-year-old Fanta Bility and wounded her sister,” he said in a statement.
“The death of Fanta and the wounding of her sister and the other students are a heart-breaking tragedy for her family, her friends, and the entire Delaware County community,” Stollsteimer said. “Our investigation is still in its early stages and we have a lot more work to do. I am asking again for the community’s help in identifying all the individuals involved in the altercation and the gunfire on Coates Street that led to this tragedy. My staff and I grieve for the Bility family, who I met with again this morning, as well as the other victims.”
“This family is devastated by the tragedy,” said lawyer Bruce L. Castor, Jr., who is representing the family. “Though they appreciate the DA’s efforts and for keeping them informed. It is doubly sad that a police officer may have fired the fatal round. We are looking at all options going forward, and hope law enforcement arrests the people who set this series of events into motion. Right now, Fanta’s family is grieving the loss of such a special little girl.”
Terrence Oliver, Sharon Hill borough council president, declined to comment late Thursday afternoon, saying officials are in the process of crafting a statement.
Sharon Hill, a borough of about 6,000 residents in the southeastern section of Delaware County, has a population comprised of about 70 percent African Americans, according to Census data. The median household income is listed at $57,200.
Anyone with any information is asked to the DA’s Office at (610) 891-4161.