The serving of an eviction notice on Monday led to the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old girl in Pennsylvania. The girl’s gather, identified as 57-year-old Donald Meyer, confronted the constable attempting to serve the eviction notice with a rifle, and although the homeowner did not fire, the state constable drew his weapon and fired one shot, which grazed Meyer and hit his 12-year-old daughter standing behind him.
Reports The Associated Press on Jan. 13, via Fox News: “Police say Ciara Meyer was home sick when she was shot by Constable Clark Steele at her apartment near Duncannon about 10 a.m. Monday. Bill Stoeffler, a Dauphin County constable who speaks for others in the area, says Meyer is distraught and says it was ‘absolutely not intentional’ that the girl was shot.”
The incident occurred in Duncannon, Penn Township, a borough in Perry County. Meyer was struck in the arm by the bullet and was taken to the Hershey Medical Center for treatment. He is charged with “aggravated and simple assault, terroristic threats, and reckless endangering,” reports the USA Today Network.
His daughter was pronounced dead at the scene.According to reports, the family owed $1,780 in back rent.
Pennsylvania State Trooper Rob Hicks said the constable was attempting to enforce the eviction notice when he and Meyer got into a heated verbal dispute. Meyer raised his loaded weapon, and the constable opened fire.
“[Meyer] put the constable in a situation where he had to make a decision to use deadly force, and he did, and now we have this tragedy,” Trooper Hicks said, adding that Steele has “voluntarily suspended his activities” as a constable after the shooting.
“[Steele] is heartsick and heartbroken over the outcome,” commented Stoeffler, who works at the Commonwealth Constables Association. “It’s every constable’s absolute worst nightmare. This is a situation that happened very suddenly and very violently. He was put in a position from which he couldn’t retreat safely. He had no other option really than to do what he did and respond as he did.”
According to Hicks, multiple notices were delivered and served on Meyer, so there was no question that he understood that the eviction was about to be enforced. Instead of complying, he chose to arm himself.
“When they heard the knock, they knew who it was,” Hicks said. “The family had received multiple notifications. They in fact knew from their last notification that the constable would be arriving at their house.”
The landlord filed an initial complaint on Nov. 30, which Meyer received on Dec. 2 of last year. An order for possession was authorized by a judge on Dec. 28, and served at the apartment a few days later.
A Go Fund Me account has since been set up for Ciara’s family and mother, who is attempting to set up a scholarship fund in the Susquenetia School District.