2 charged in connection with gunfire that killed girl at football game in Sharon Hill, Pa.

A 16-year-old and an 18-year-old are being charged with first-degree murder in connection with the incident.

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Thursday, November 11, 2021
2 charged in connection with gunfire that killed girl at football game
A 16-year-old and an 18-year-old are being charged with first-degree murder in connection with gunfire after a high school football game in Delaware County that left an 8-year-old dead.

MEDIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Authorities have announced charges against two teenagers in the death of an 8-year-old girl hit by gunfire that also wounded four other people outside a high school football game in Delaware County, Pennsylvania this past summer.

The district attorney says there is no question most of the shots were fired from police officers, but it was the teens' gunfire that triggered the tragedy.

Sixteen-year-old Angelo "AJ" Ford of Sharon Hill has been charged with first-degree murder. Investigators allege Ford and 18-year-old Hasein Strand, of Collingdale, got into an argument at the Academy Park High School game on August 27.

According to District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, the two "exchanged multiple gunshots with each other" outside as spectators were leaving the game, wounding one person caught in the crossfire.

Authorities have said that three Sharon Hill officers were positioned opposite the exit, and as the gunfire broke out a car turned onto the street directly in front of them.

The gunfire and the movement of the vehicle "precipitated responsive gunfire" from the officers, and ballistics analysis had "concluded with near certainty" that their fire hit four of the five victims in the crowd, including 8-year-old Fanta Bility, Stollsteimer said earlier. Final forensic reports are awaited.

SEE ALSO: Family sues Sharon Hill Borough police officers after girl killed outside football stadium

Fanta Bility was killed when police gunfire rang out on the night of August 27 outside of the Academy Park High School following a football game.

"Under the laws of this commonwealth, my office has determined that (the defendants) 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.

The attorney for Fanta Bility's family, former longtime Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor weighed in on the new charges.

"The DA is gonna have a tough time in a transferred intent case charging these fellas with first-degree murder," said Castor. "It does not, however, remove the focus from the fact that it was police officers acting recklessly and inappropriately that fired the fatal round that killed Fanta Bility."

Stollsteimer said an investigative grand jury would be seated Nov. 18 to "review the entire case, so that it may be determined whether the police officers' use of deadly force was justified." The lay panel is to hear testimony, compile a report and issue a presentment if charges are warranted.

Sharon Hill has hired a former Philadelphia district attorney to conduct an administrative review of the department's policies and procedures on police use of deadly force.

Ford is being held without bail while an active search is underway for Hasein Strand.

SEE ALSO: Delaware County Black Caucus calls for officers involved in fatal shooting of 8-year-old to be fired

Senator Anthony Williams is joining members of the Delaware County Black Caucus to also stress the significance of this investigation moving toward a grand jury.