A 12-year-old girl was shot and killed when her father pointed a rifle at a constable serving an eviction notice and the constable shot her father.
Pennsylvania State Constable Clarke Steele was serving an eviction notice on 57-year-old Donald B. Meyer and his family at an apartment complex in Penn Township Jan. 11, police said.
Meyer reportedly opened the door, saw Steele, and quickly closed the door. When he opened it again, he exchanged words with Steele before pointing a loaded .223 caliber at the constable's chest. That's when Steele unholstered his .40 caliber service weapon and shot Meyer once in the arm.
Ciara Meyer was standing right behind her father and was struck by the single round, which pierced her father's forearm before striking her. She was pronounced dead at the scene, PennLive.com notes. One neighbor told WHTM she heard the shot, but only later did she find out that Ciara had been killed.
“I burst into tears,” she said. “I can’t understand it; it’s horrible.”
Employees of the apartment complex had accompanied Steele when he tried to serve the eviction notice and witnessed the shooting, cops said. The family owed $1,780.85 in rent and costs on the $660 a month apartment, and had been given a hand-delivered complaint on Dec. 3, 2015, before a judge ordered an eviction later that month, according to PennLive.com
Ciara was home from school that day because she was sick, the girl's family told WHTM. The Susquenita School District posted a notice to its website saying the staff's "condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with the family and friends," and noting that psychologists and guidance counselors would be available to students who were friends of the victim.
Donald, her father, was brought to Penn State Hershey Medical Center and treated for the wound to his arm. He was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats, and reckless endangerment, and was arraigned by video from the hospital on Jan. 12.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Ciara's family with funeral expenses.
"She was a sweet little girl, so kind, so loving," neighbor Sarah Harman told PennLive.com. "I just hope she didn't suffer."
Steele is not facing any charges at this time.