A standard serving of an eviction notice in central Pennsylvania Monday ended in the death of a 12-year-old girl when a constable’s bullet shot at her father also hit the girl, Pennlive.com reported Tuesday. Constable Clarke Steele drew his gun and shot at Donald Meyer, 57, after Meyer came to his apartment door with a rifle. Steele’s bullet went through Meyer’s arm, striking and killing his Ciara Meyer, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Perry County District Attorney Andrew Bender said the investigation into the shooting is ongoing, and that it is too early to say if Steele’s actions were appropriate. Steele and Donald Meyer spoke briefly in the doorway before Meyer aimed the rifle, which officials said had been concealed against his body and had a magazine with 30 rounds loaded in it.
The arrival of Steele at the Meyer’s door Monday, however, was not a surprise, as he had visited the home multiple times over the pending eviction. An eviction deadline of 10 a.m. Monday was given by a judge, but it appeared that the Meyers had not begun moving out when Steele arrived at their home just after 10 a.m. Monday, Pennlive.com reported.
"It was absolutely not intentional that the girl was shot," Bill Stoeffler, a constable in neighboring Dauphin County and spokesman for constables in the area, said. "The constable fired one round when he faced an immediate threat from which he could not retreat safely - he had no other force options."
The family reportedly owed more than $1,700 in back rent. Donald Meyer is charged with simple assault, aggravated assault, terroristic threats and reckless endangerment, WHTM-TV in central Pennsylvania reported. Ciara Meyer, who was home sick from school Monday, was remembered by neighbors as a kind girl.
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“Here’s a little girl that doesn’t even have a chance to grow up and live her life, and all because of this senseless act. It’s horrible, absolutely heartbreaking,” a neighbor of the Meyers said to WHTM-TV of the girl.