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Police apparently fired the bullets that hit four people, including a fatal shot that killed a girl, and sent spectators, high school soccer players and coaches scrambling for cover after the opening game from Pennsbury High School last month.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer on Monday announced that the initial ballistic analysis concluded “with near certainty” that three Sharon Hill cops fired on August 27, causing chaos at the football stadium. of Academy Park High School minutes after the team’s game against Pennsbury. .
Final forensic reports are pending
Eight-year-old Fanta Bility was shot dead and her 12-year-old sister was among the injured.
No player or coach of either team or spectator in the match was injured.
More previous shoot coverage: Girl shot dead after football game in Pennsbury, Delaware
Authorities believe the shooting started when an argument between a group of young men turned into gunfire about a block from the entrance to Knights Park Stadium, which hosted the opening game of the Pennsbury Falcons vs. Delaware County Academy Park High School.
The gunfire occurred as players were leaving the pitch and people were leaving the stadium after the game.
A radio broadcast of the WBCB 1490 game captured the rapid fire at the end of its broadcast. After the score is announced, there is a brief pause and then several shots can be heard.
Police officers from Sharon Hill were positioned in front of the stadium exit and when gunshots broke out, a car turned on the street just in front of the police, according to Stollsteimer.
“We concluded that the gunfire, combined with the movement of the vehicle, triggered reaction fire from Sharon Hill police,” he said in a statement.
Relatives and others who spoke to this news agency after the shooting said members of the Pennsbury team were heading to their lockers near the door where the shooting took place.
A relative estimated that the players were one minute away from the shooting site when gunshots rang out.
Some Pennsbury spectators were outside the stadium and said they saw two black cars speeding down the street and then the shooting started.
“It was horrible,” said a parent.
Pennsbury coaches, the safety team and the school players have been praised for helping to keep the players and others to safety during the incident.
The players were told to run across the field and officials found another exit away from the crime scene to get them to the buses back to Fairless Hills, which is about 35 miles from Sharon Hill. They left all their personal belongings in the locker room, which the parents then collected.
The student-athletes were asked to “put on their helmets, put their heads between their knees and keep their heads down until they were on I-95,” said one parent, who did not want their name is released due to the criminal investigation.
When the players returned to Pennsbury High School that night, they received counseling immediately and in the days that followed, the parents said.
“It was a real tragedy, but the district stepped in and did what they could for the players,” said a parent. “They took care of them on the pitch and after.
Pennsbury Superintendent Thomas Smith recognized the football team, coaches and bus drivers at the September 23 school board meeting for their courageous efforts during what he described as a “situation. terrifying and chaotic “.
Players covered young children with their bodies to protect them, Smith said. The players also helped keep spectators away as Falcons coaches Ryan Brady, Wayne Demore and Blake Baker aided one who was hit.
“Our athletic director, coaches and security staff have selflessly guided our players to safety,” said Smith.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and our community, we thank you,” he said. “We greet you.”
The Pennsbury High School Football Booster Club also ran a fundraising campaign to benefit the Fanta Bility family.
More Pennsbury coverage: Pennsbury School District Seeks Morrisville Merger Study Proposals
Stollsteimer said the investigation into the shooting is ongoing and arrests of the men involved are planned. He also called for the constitution of a grand jury of inquiry as part of the examination of the use of force by the police on the night of the shooting.
His office is also reviewing the legality of weapons discharged by officers, who have been assigned to administrative duties.
Sharon Hill Borough also hired a lawyer to conduct an administrative review of police department policies and procedures related to police use of lethal force.
Writer Ashley R. Williams contributed to this story
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