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13 Jan, 2016 03:19

Pennsylvania officer kills 12yo girl when firing at her father

Pennsylvania officer kills 12yo girl when firing at her father

A Pennsylvania constable fatally shot a 12-year-old girl during an attempt to evict her family from their home. The bullet was fired at the girl’s father, passed through his arm and hit the child, who died instantly.

Ciara Meyer was pronounced dead in her home in Duncannon, north of Harrisburg, where a police constable arrived with a “legal and valid” eviction order on Monday morning.

According to police, Constable Clarke Steele approached the apartment and tried to talk to Ciara’s father, Donald Meyer, 57, who opened the door, but then shut it. As far as the official investigation has determined, Steele remained at the door until Meyer came back.

“The suspect then re-opened the door and engaged Constable Steele in a brief exchange of words, and then leveled a loaded .223 caliber rifle, which had been slung and concealed along his body, directly at Constable Steele with a point of aim at his chest,” state police said in a statement.

This is when Steele, who was in uniform, fired a single round from his .40 caliber duty weapon, striking Ciara’s father in the left arm. At the time of the shooting, the girl was standing directly behind her father. Having pierced Mr. Meyer’s arm, the bullet struck Ciara, killing her instantly.

“The suspect’s daughter was pronounced dead at the scene,” police confirmed.

Ciara’s father was taken to the Hershey Medical Center, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Arraigned from the hospital by video, Meyer has been charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats, and recklessly endangering another person.

“During the course of the investigation a search warrant was served and the rifle used by the suspect was recovered. The rifle was found with a loaded chamber and a magazine containing 30 rounds,” the police statement read.

According to The Counted, a database maintained by the Guardian newspaper that tracks killings by US law enforcement, Ciara was the 21st person and first child killed by police since the beginning of 2016.

An official fund – Ciara’s Fund Against Domestic Violence – has been started in the girl’s memory.

“This campaign is to help her mother, lay CC to rest, and fund a scholarship in The Susquenetia School District against Domestic Violence and Mental Illness,” the message reads.

A spokesman for the Commonwealth Constables Association told WHTM that Steele is a respected officer in both Dauphin and Perry counties. He has reportedly suspended his duties voluntarily for the duration of the investigation. As Steele’s family told the TV channel, he is “very distraught over the situation.”