Girl standing behind dad dies when bullet goes through him, hits her

Twelve-year-old Ciara Meyer was standing behind her father when law enforcement came to the door.

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A constable was serving an eviction notice Monday morning at their apartment near Duncannon, Pa., when police said the girl’s father pointed a rifle at the constable’s chest. Police said the officer drew his gun and pulled the trigger.

The bullet, police said, went though the man’s arm and struck his daughter.

“Very kind, sweet kid,” a neighbor told ABC affiliate WHTM. “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.”

The girl was pronounced dead at the scene.

The account of her shooting was provided to the station by Pennsylvania state police.

Authorities said Pennsylvania State Constable Clarke Steele went to the apartment about 10 a.m. Monday to serve a court-ordered eviction notice. The girl, identified by family members as Ciara Meyer, was sick and had stayed home from school.

Her father, Donald Meyer, 57, opened the door and then shut it, said Constable Bill Stoeffler, a spokesman with the Commonwealth Constables Association. Meyer opened the door again, Stoeffler said, and then raised a rifle that was slung across his body.

“The constable had no place to retreat to,” Stoeffler told The Washington Post. “He had to respond immediately.”

Stoeffler said Steele “managed to get his gun out and fire one round.” Then he took cover and called for backup.

Upon arriving, authorities learned the constable had shot Meyer and “tragically, the little girl,” Stoeffler said.

The 12-year-old’s death is among at least 22 police shootings that have resulted in fatalities this year, according to a Washington Post database.

Donald Meyer, who was taken to Penn State Hershey Medical Center to be treated for his injuries, has been charged with simple assault, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and terroristic threats, according to court records.

He will be held without bail. A preliminary court hearing is set for Jan. 15.

Stoeffler, with the Commonwealth Constables Association, said he has spoken with the officer who fired the shot and said he is “devastated” about the incident.

“He’s absolutely heartbroken over the outcome of this,” Stoeffler told The Post.

Stoeffler said Steele has not been charged with a crime but has suspended his work voluntarily during the police investigation.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help in the child’s name to help the family pay for funeral arrangements.

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