DUNCANNON, Pa. (WHTM) – A 12-year-old girl who was shot and killed by a constable serving her father with an eviction order died from a gunshot wound to the chest, the Perry County coroner said.
Coroner Mike Shalonis said the manner of death is homicide. He announced the findings after an autopsy Wednesday at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown.
In medical terms, “homicide” means the death was caused by the actions of another person. It does not imply the actions were criminal.
State police said the girl was standing directly behind her father, 57-year-old Donald B. Meyer, when a constable shot Mr. Meyer in the arm Monday morning at the Pfautz Apartments on Rebecca Drive. The bullet went through Meyer’s left upper arm and struck his daughter, identified by family members as Ciara Meyer. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said Meyer had opened the door for Pennsylvania State Constable Clarke Steele, closed it, then opened it again. As he exchanged words with the constable, he leveled a .223 caliber rifle that had been slung and concealed along his body.
With the rifle pointed directly at his chest, police said Steele, who was in uniform, fired a single shot from his .40-caliber duty firearm.
Meyer is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats, and reckless endangerment. Police said his gun had a round in the chamber and a magazine with 30 rounds.
The investigation is ongoing. The Perry County district attorney’s office will determine whether Steele was justified in using deadly force.
A source close to the constable family says Steele is “very distraught over the situation.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover Ciara’s funeral costs. Funds raised will also go toward a domestic violence and mental illness scholarship the family hopes to create with the Susquenita School District.
ABC 27’s Kendra Nichols spoke with Ciara’s family. They say they don’t blame the constable for her death. Look for her reports tonight at 5 & 6 p.m.