Father charged with homicide after girl, 12, is killed by police constable during eviction

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PERRY COUNTY, Pennsylvania — The father of a 12-year-old has been charged with homicide after the girl was accidentally shot to death by a police constable in Pennsylvania, authorities said.

Ciara Meyer

Ciara Meyer

Ciara Meyer was killed by a police constable who was serving eviction papers at their apartment in Perry County on January 11.

Constable Clark Steele’s action was justified, and he did not face any charges in the shooting, authorities said.

Her father, Donald Meyer, 57, was charged with homicide and involuntary manslaughter Thursday, according to CNN affiliate WHP.

“Meyer’s reckless conduct, knowing his daughter was standing behind him, triggered a chain of events that tragically led to the death of Ciara Meyer,” District Attorney Andrew Bender told the affiliate.

Eviction notice

During the incident this month, the constable was at Meyer’s apartment to serve a valid eviction notice, authorities said.

The girl’s father pointed a loaded rifle at Steele, and the constable fired a single shot, authorities said. The bullet traveled through Meyer’s arm and struck Ciara, who was standing behind her father.

“They’re responsible for the murder and shooting of my daughter and me, and now it’s a big cover up,” Meyer told the affiliate. “They’re charging me with a felony for protecting my family?”

More charges

Meyer’s latest charges of homicide and involuntary manslaughter add on to previous ones that included aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person, according to a Pennsylvania State Police report.

Meyer also faces a firearms charge, because under state law he was not allowed to have a gun because of past mental issues, authorities told the affiliate.

‘They knew who it was’

Donald Meyer knew the constable was coming, Pennsylvania State Trooper Robert Hicks told CNN affiliate WPMT. His family had received multiple notifications, with the last making it clear a constable was on the way with an eviction notice.

“When they heard the knock, they knew who it was,” Hicks said.

When Steele arrived at 10 a.m. Monday, “the suspect opened the door to the residence and then shut it,” according to the police report.

Meyer then reopened the door and, after “a brief exchange of words,” leveled a rifle that had been concealed and aimed it at Steele.

“Constable Steele, who was in uniform, quickly removed his .40 caliber duty weapon from its holster and fired a single round,” the police report said, noting that employees of the apartment complex witnessed the encounter.

That bullet “shattered the bone in (Meyer’s) left arm,” Hicks told CNN affiliate WHTM-TV, then went into the body of Ciara, who had stayed home sick from school.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pennsylvania constables are not police officers but elected officials. They may be tasked with certain aspects of law enforcement in the duty of the courts, according to the Pennsylvania court system.

7 comments

  • Richard

    The person firing the weapon is fully responsible. Its just weapons safety 101, Know your target AND Whats beyond it. He should get somewhat of a fine for a weapon safety violation. . The father is not responsible for his daughter death but some of the other charges are fine. If anything is learned here is that the person who went to serve did not follow safety rules and get fired. A safety violation is nothing to ever play with.

    • Scott Schoemannn

      The distance between the defendant who opened the door and the constable on the otherside could not be more than 12 foot at max, and the armed constable missed? there was ZERO firearms training. They are lying and covering it up

  • Brandy

    I believe there is no justify murder. It on God to take you home not a bullet. Then y’all charging the man that’s not right he didn’t kill his daughter she was just being a noisy kid. I don’t think it’s fair that he has to be punished for his daughter death. That will make that man really crazy. Then he can’t go to her funeral. I wouldn’t be surprised if he killed himself in jail or someone else.

  • nuke

    Ok – so why weren’t existing gun laws enforced?

    Why was his daughter entrusted to his care, if he had a history of mental illness and was as crazy and violent as his family is now saying?

    I agree, his daughter’s death is entirely on his head and no one else’s.

    • Scott Schoemannn

      There is ZERO Proof that he has mental health issues, and further, Under the US Constitution, ONLY the Federal government can limit the right to keep and bear arms, not the state as is enumerated BY THE TENTH Amendment. Next, you will note that they have not released the text of the unlawful threats made against the defendant by the Constable, who is not a sworn law enforcement officer, JUST a paper server. that a judge deemed, arbitrarily, to be allowed to carry a firearm on duty. What is not being pointed out, is if they had problems with defendant in the past as claimed, Sworn Law enforcement officers would have served the notice, and not someone who’s authority is LESS than the municipal dog catcher’s. That is not an insult, it is, in fact, a correct and factual statement. This is exactly as the defendant states, A COVERUP. And for those commenting about paying rent, for all you know this may be an income sensitve apartment and the defendant, may have gotten a raise, so he makes three dollars too much, or he lost his job due to plant closing and cant get welfare because he is the wrong color. So Stop making self righteous posts.

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