SHARON HILL – Nearly a year after her daughter fell to her arms after being shot during an Academy Park High School football game, Tene Kroma spoke about who Fanta Bility was and how the family coped, recounting the events of the day Fanta is dead.
Memorial services are planned for Saturday in Sharon Hill to commemorate the shooting of the 8-year-old and A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family who continue to deal with the aftermath of Fanta’s death.
Speaking in both English and her native Mandingo, Tene Kroma told the story of her daughter’s death, which led to the firing of three police officers, Sharon Hill.
Devon Smith, 34, Sean P. Dolan, 25, and Brian J. Dolan, 41. Devaney was charged with first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, as well as 10 counts of reckless endangerment.
They have defenders offered to drop the manslaughter charges.
“August. 27 was on a Friday,” Kromah said through translation by her nephew, Siddiq Qamari. “She went to Jummah because we’re Muslim. After Jummah, her older sister, a 16-year-old girl, said, ‘Hey, this is our first game of the season. , and I’ll be cheerleading.”
When they went to visit Fanta’s sister, Mawati, who is a cheerleader, the family saw several police officers at the football stadium.
“I feel completely safe today,” Kromah said when she saw them as the family paid their admission and gathered with friends and family. “They all wanted to watch the game. Everyone had fun. Fanta had fun.”
Kromach said that when the game was over, Fanta and the children were walking in front and playing.
“They go ahead … they go to the car and they just run,” Kromach said. “At that time (we) heard several shots. At the entrance, everyone… started running back to the stadium. It was chaos.”
Fanta also ran to her mother.
“And all of a sudden Fanta reached (to me) and Fanta collapsed,” Kromach said. “She collapsed. (I) said, “Fanta, what’s going on?” What is happening? Let’s get up. Let’s get up.” “
“Then (I) looked down and when (I) looked down, (I) saw blood,” Cromach said, adding that she lifted Fanta’s shirt. “Then (I) saw the bullet wound and started screaming, ‘Somebody help me.’ Someone help me. Help me.” “
Sharon Hill Officer James Scanlon said he saw Kroma screaming and noticed the girl was bleeding from a wound in her chest.
He tried to apply pressure to Fanta’s wound while another officer drove up. She was rushed to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Derby, where she was pronounced dead at 9.25pm.
Since then, the incident has been the subject of intense scrutiny.
A grand jury was convened and two teenagers, Hossein Strand, 18, of the 500 block of Felton Street in Collingdale, and Angela “AJ” Ford16, of the first block of High Street in Sharon Hill — were initially charged with first-degree murder under the legal theory of “transmitted intent” after the two exchanged gunfire in the 900 block of Coates Street, about a block away.
The murder charges were later dropped.
Strand was sentenced to three to six years in state prison in January after pleading guilty to aggravated assault and possession of a firearm, and Ford remains wanted by law enforcement after escaping from a juvenile detention center this spring.
After the grand jury presentation, Smith, Dolan and Devaney have all been fired from the Sharon Hill Police Department and then charged with one count each of first degree murder and first degree involuntary manslaughter, and 10 counts each of reckless endangerment.
According to testimony at a preliminary hearing, the three officers fired 25 rounds at the car they believed was involved in the shootout, leaving bullet holes in it, flattening two tires and shattering at least one passenger-side window.
“The release of police officers was directed toward the football stadium where the spectators were exiting,” the grand jury presentation said. “Several spectators exiting the stadium were hit by gunfire.”
Fanta and her older sister Mamasu were among them.
The officers were arraigned on all charges following a preliminary hearing before District Judge Robert Burke in March and formally arraigned later that month.
Sharon Hill Borough officials have hired former Philadelphia District Attorney Kelly Hodge and her firm Fox-Rothschild LLP to conduct an independent investigation into the Borough’s police policies and procedures.
The report was completed in June and a heavily redacted version was published in July as NAACP leaders and others call for the release of the full report through press conferences and protests.
“She loved everyone”
In the middle of it all is the memory of an 8-year-old girl with bright eyes and a kind smile, a person her family doesn’t want to lose in the aftermath of the controversy or forget.
“Fanta was a very outgoing young lady,” Kromach said. “She loved everybody … she was very devoted.”
The 8-year-old enjoyed fashion and dressing up, as well as dancing to make TikTok videos.
“She took (my) phone every day and was on TikTok,” Kromach said.
Her mom also recalled how she played with her brother, Abu, who recently turned 8.
“She loved playing outside with her little brother,” Kromach said. “They always played outside together every day.”
The sophomore, who earned 5s and 4s, was most passionate about art and was known for her friendliness and generosity.
Fanta gave away her clothes and shoes to her friends, her mother explained, adding that she also shared food.
“She would grab snacks and juices that (I) kept in (my) house and take the kids outside,” Kromach said.
Fanta’s memory will be at the center of events on Saturday, the anniversary of her death.
At noon, some of Fanta’s friends and family will speak at Fanta’s memorial service at Sharon Hill Memorial Park, 1201 Chester Pike, Sharon Hill.
There will be a walk along Chester Pike from Kenny Avenue to Coates Street at 1:15 p.m.
“We are not going to walk onto the football field on purpose,” family spokeswoman Dawn Chavous said. “The family felt it would be too difficult to enter.”
Chavous said the events will be an opportunity to reflect on what happened and remember the impact Fanta had and continues to have on those affected by the events of August 27, 2021.
“We want people to come out,” Chavous said. “This event is open to anyone and everyone who cares about her, cares about the story, cares about what happened or was affected by what happened because Fanta died, but everyone who was there that night was somewhat traumatized by what happened.”
She noted that three other people, including Mamasu, were injured that evening.
“Our goal is to raise $60,000,” Chavous said during the event and on the GoFundMe page. “We’re hoping this will at least give (Kromah) some relief, some support, because it’s a lot of pressure.”
After the shooting, Kroma left her job as a registered nurse’s assistant, where she cared for the elderly, to care for her surviving children and seek justice for Fanta.
“At the end of the day, you still have a family that is still dealing with PTSD and the shock of what happened last year,” Chavous said. “In reality, Fanta should still be here.”
Chavus explained that this is one way to help the family.
“We hope people can approach this issue with a little more empathy and understanding for the family and remembering that if they want to help, there are ways to do it that don’t involve any controversy,” she said. .
Meanwhile, the family shared how they are coping.
Camara said the family appreciates the media and their attention to Fant and the case.
“It was very difficult at first because we needed space,” said Fanta’s cousin and Kromah’s nephew. “We had a lot to deal with at that time. We didn’t even know where to start.”
He explained that he and Kromah came to the United States in 2004 following the civil wars in Liberia that lasted from 1989 to 2003 and left more than 250,000 dead.
He said Kromah wanted a better life for his children.
“We didn’t do anything,” Kamara said. “They were in the right place. They respect the law. It’s like, “Why us? Why did this have to happen to us?” We just want to make sure that no matter what happens that day, we will get proper justice as an immigrant.”
So, they rely on their faith.
“We are Muslims,” Kamara said. “Our religion, we believe that everything happens for a reason. We believe that the way Fanta went, God wanted.
“We pray for her all the time,” he said.
How to help
Family GoFundMe page: https://bit.ly/FantaBilityFund