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Family of 8-year-old girl fatally shot by Pennsylvania police reaches $11 million settlement

CNN  — 

The family of an 8-year-old girl who was shot and killed by police gunfire near a Pennsylvania high school football game in 2021 has settled its lawsuit against a Philadelphia suburb, its police chief, and the three officers involved for $11 million.

Fanta Bility was shot and killed when police opened fire on a car in Pennsylvania’s Sharon Hill Borough, CNN previously reported. Police started shooting after a verbal fight between teens escalated to a gunfight, according to officials. Three others were also injured in the shooting, including Fanta’s 12-year-old sister who was inside the car.

Three former police officers – Brian Devaney, Sean Dolan, and Devon Smith – were fired and later sentenced to probation in connection to Fanta’s death in May. They pleaded guilty to charges of reckless endangerment. The three men were initially charged with manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, but the charges were dropped as part of a plea deal.

“There is no amount of money that will ever bring Fanta back or erase the memory of the horrible tragedy that occurred on August 27, 2021, from our minds,” said Siddiq Kamara, a spokesperson for the Bility family, in a statement. “However, with the criminal and civil cases now resolved, we hope to move on and focus specifically on the Fanta Bility Foundation and keeping Fanta’s legacy alive.”

The family established the foundation on what would have been Fanta’s 10th birthday to “ensure she is never forgotten,” advocate for police training, and help support families and children around the country, according to the nonprofit’s website.

The three officers involved in the fatal shooting were fired and later sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to charges of reckless endangerment.

Investigators were unable to determine which officer fired the fatal bullet, according to the Delaware County District Attorney’s office.

As a part of the settlement, Sharon Hill Borough has agreed to provide more extensive training to its officers, especially with regard to the use of deadly force, according to a statement from the family’s attorneys.

“Though this chapter has come to an end, our hearts and the spirit of the Sharon Hill community will be forever changed,” a statement from the Borough of Sharon Hill reads. “Although we cannot undo the tragic events of that day, we hope that the resolution of the lawsuit might provide those impacted a small measure of closure.”

Robert DiDomenicis, the attorney representing Sharon Hill, the three officers involved, and the police chief, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.