'I miss my baby': Mother of Fanta Bility grieves 1 year after daughter killed by police

The family had been attending a football game when police who heard gunshots fired into the crowd. Fanta was fatally struck.

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Friday, August 26, 2022
Mother of Fanta Bility grieves loss of daughter 1 year later
Fanta Bility's mother, Tenneh Kromah, said the last year has been "very difficult." The 8-year-old was killed on August 27, 2021, by police gunfire.

SHARON HILL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The past year has been one that 40-year-old Tenneh Kromah never imagined she'd never have to go through, a year without her youngest daughter.

"Very difficult," she said while sitting on the sofa in the family's home.

Kromah held back tears as she shared memories of her 8-year-old daughter, Fanta Bility, who was killed on August 27, 2021 by police gunfire.

The family had been attending a football game when police who heard gunshot fired into the crowd. Fanta was fatally struck.

"I miss my baby," said Kromah. "Me and Fanta were so close. The other kids, they used to say 'you love Fanta too much.' I would say yes."

Extended interview with Fanta Bility Mom and Uncle

Fanta's family says it was easy for everyone to love the little girl who was so generous that she would often give her clothes to other children.

"Fanta was so friendly," said Kromah.

SEE ALSO: 'I just want truth' | Questions raised about redacted report in police shooting death of Fanta Bility

The little girl whose favorite colors were purple and pink was also a fashionista.

"She wanted to do fashion. That's what she used to say," said Kromah, adding that Fanta wanted to be a model when she grew up.

The youngest girl of six children, Fanta also got along with her siblings and impressed her little brother, Abu Bility, with her artistic skills.

"She knew how to draw," said 8-year-old Abu of his big sister.

Like many kids her age, Fanta was also on TikTok, recording videos of herself dancing on the popular social media app.

"They knew the code," her uncle Abu Bility said with a laugh of Fanta and Abu's ability to get into a tablet or phone to record videos. In one video, Fanta takes the camera to record her adventures in the snow.

"We're twinsies," she said while smiling at the camera and putting her arm around her little brother who was wearing a black jacket that matched hers.

The videos Fanta recorded on a phone are too painful for her mother to watch now.

SEE ALSO: Delaware County activists say police, borough not being transparent in death of Fanta Bility

"Whenever she sees Fanta's photo... it kind of refreshes her memory that it just happened," said Abu Bility, of Kromah's overwhelming grief. There are no photos of Fanta in the family's living room area.

Seeing the little girl's picture takes her mother back to the day she lost Fanta.

That day, Fanta had been napping on the couch and wanted to stay home. The family wanted to support Fanta's sister, who was cheerleading at the game, so they all went together to Academy Park High School. After the game, the family walked to their car just as three officers who heard gunshots fired into the crowd.

"We hear the gunshots. Everybody was running back," said Kromah. "I said where's Fanta? Where's Fanta?"

Kromah described a chaotic scene as she realized Fanta had fallen among the people in the crowd.

"People were running and falling down... I said 'Fanta get up! Get up! We (have to) go. Then I see the blood coming off Fanta. Fanta was shot."

An investigation revealed that the fatal shots were fired by Sharon Hill Police Department officers.

SEE ALSO: 3 Sharon Hill police officers charged in shooting death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility

"I was screaming," said Kromah. "I say, 'Help everybody! Come help'... then the police came to take Fanta in the car (to the hospital)."

When they got to the hospital, Kromah was too shaken up to even recall Fanta's birthday. Her little brother, Abu, gave the hospital all of the information on her. Fanta was pronounced dead at the hospital. Her family never got a chance to say a final goodbye.

The night she died, her family's fight for justice began.

"Everybody want to see the right thing to be done. Most especially by the Sharon Hill Police Department," said Fanta's uncle, Abu Bility.

The three officers accused of firing into the crowd have all been fired and charged in Fanta's death. Criminal and civil cases are ongoing.

Danger is the reason the family fled their native Liberia.

"It was a civil war," said the elder Abu Bility.

Violence is not what they expected in their new home. This is the second tragedy for the family as Abu Bility's brother was also killed by a man who robbed and shot him on the streets of Philadelphia.

"We need peace. We thought America is the peace land," said Abraham Kromah, a family cousin who is visiting Pennsylvania from Holland to support the family on the 1st anniversary.

Still too grief-stricken to work, Tenneh Kromah now tries to be strong for her five children. Supporters are helping the family financially through a GoFundMe page.

"Every time I think about her, I get sad," said her little brother, Abu who often thinks of Fanta when he goes to sleep.

Throughout the year, there have been events and protests to call for justice in Fanta's case. For the first time, the family is hosting an event in honor of Fanta. They invite the public to join them at noon on Saturday, August 27, at Sharon Hill Memorial Park.

There will be a gathering to remember Fanta followed by a march at 1:15 p.m. to the Academy Park football field.

As the family thanks all of the people and organizations that have supported them, they continue to work through their grief while vowing to keep Fanta's memory alive.

"She was a good girl," said her mother.