A Pennsylvania constable who visited the Meyer family in Duncannon, PA, on Jan. 13, 2016, in order to serve an eviction notice accidentally shot and killed 12 year-old Ciara Meyer.
Constable Clarke Steele arrived at the Meyer’s apartment with a legal eviction notice. When Donald Meyer, 57, Ciara’s father, opened the door to Steele’s knock, but then quickly closed the door. According to Steele’s report, Donald Meyer then reopened the door and exchanged words with the police official before leveling a rifle at the constable, aiming at Steele’s chest.
Police constable shoots & kills 12-year-old girl while trying to evict her family from home north of Harrisburg, PA https://t.co/QfRkrqhCEc
The uniformed constable then fired a single shot from his .40 caliber weapon, striking Meyer in the left arm. Ciara Meyer, who was standing directly behind her father, was struck after the bullet exited her father’s arm. The pre-teen was pronounced dead at the scene.
Donald Meyer was transported to “Hershey Medical Center to be treated for his non-life threatening injuries.” (RT.com) Meyer was arraigned at the medical center via a video feed on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person.
A search warrant obtained as part of the follow-up investigation recovered the rifle Meyer had armed himself with to be a .223 caliber weapon that was found to have a loaded chamber and a magazine holding 30 rounds of ammunition.
A neighbor of the Meyers, Kera Nesslein, who had been outside to smoke a cigarette when Steele arrived at the house related that the constable was looking at the clipboard he had when he knocked on the Meyer’s door. Nesslein explained that the constable stood at the door rather than trying to enter and waited a few seconds before she heard the shot, after which the constable ran down the steps and took cover.
Steele, who was described by a spokesman for the Commonwealth Constables Association as “a respected officer in both Dauphin and Perry counties” has voluntarily suspended himself from duty after the incident for the remainder of the investigation. (RT.com)
Ron Rohde, related to Ciara Meyers’ family through marriage, indicated he and his wife are acting as spokespeople for the family in the wake of this tragedy. In an interview, Rohde said the family does not have “any hard feelings” against Constable Steele and is not to blame for the accidental shooting. (ABCNews.) Rohde, who said that Ciara referred to him as “Uncle Rod,” explained that two different child protection agencies had been involved with the family, having removed Ciara from the home for several months at one time.
Rohde pondered whether Constable Steele was aware of the family’s part history, asking, “Did anyone let him know that he was going to be walking into a rat’s hole?” (ABCNews)
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