A 12-year-old girl was accidentally shot to death Monday (Jan. 11) during a confrontation involving her father and a uniformed constable (a.k.a. “peace officer”). The Pennsylvania constable was on hand to serve an eviction notice to the girl’s father and ended up killing her by mistake.
On Monday, Pennsylvania State Constable Clarke Steele was serving an eviction notice to Donald Meyer, 57, in Penn Township when Meyer slid a .223-caliber rifle into view and pointed it at Steele’s chest, Pennsylvania State Police said.
“Constable Steele, who was in uniform, quickly removed his .40 caliber duty weapon from its holster and fired a single round striking the suspect in his upper left arm,” police said.
The bullet passed through Meyer’s arm and struck his 12-year-old daughter, who was standing behind him, in the chest. Family members identified her to CNN affiliate WHTM-TV as Ciera Meyer.
A neighbor heard the shot. When she found out who died, “I burst into tears,” she told WHTM. “I can’t understand it; it’s horrible.”
She dreaded telling her young daughter.
“She’s not going to handle it very well. It’s horrible. How do you tell a little girl that something like this happened? How do you explain that? I’m an adult, and I don’t understand it,” said the woman, whom WHTM did not name.
Ciera Meyer wasn’t at school that day because she was sick. She was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Her father, Daniel Meyer, was airlifted to a hospital for treatment. He has been charged with aggravated and simple assault, terroristic threats, and reckless endangerment.
Constable Steele is said to be “completely distraught” over the death. “This is the worst nightmare any of us as constables can encounter,” Bill Stoeffler, a local constable and spokesperson, said.
Steele chose to go on leave pending a police investigation.