ENOLA, Pa. (WHTM) – Ciara Meyer has been gone for almost three months. The 12-year-old’s life was cut short by a bullet that wasn’t meant for her.
“We are all struggling with Ciara’s death. It is still very traumatic for us,” said Hope Rhode, Ciara’s aunt.
While the family continues to mourn, what happened on Jan. 11 continues to play out in court. Police say Donald Meyer, Ciara’s father, pulled a rifle on a constable serving an eviction notice and the constable fired a shot in self-defense. The bullet went through Don Meyer’s arm and hit Ciara as she stood behind him.
The constable who fired the fatal shot, Clarke Steele, was the first to take the stand Tuesday at Meyer’s preliminary hearing. Steele’s hands were shaking as he told Magisterial District Judge Richard Dougherty what happened at the Pfautz Apartments near Duncannon.
Steele says when he knocked on the apartment door, he “saw someone peek through the blinds on the door.”
“The door opened just enough for Don to put his head out,” Steele said. “I told him you have to go. Don then said, ‘I’m not going to let that happen.'”
What happened next was recorded on a cell phone camera, the video taken by an employee of the Pfautz Apartments. The video shows Don Meyer open the door with a rifle in his hand. He swings the rifle up and points it at the constable’s chest. Steele then grabs his weapon and fires one shot.
Perry County District Attorney Andrew Bender asked Steele why he shot Meyer.
“He was going to kill me,” Steele said. “I knew I was dying.”
Several witnesses, including Ciara’s mother, Sherry Meyer, testified they heard the 12-year-old pleading with her father, saying “No, Daddy, no. Please stop.” One witness testified that Ciara was tugging on her father’s arm.
Those were her last words to her father before the bullet when through his arm and into her heart, killing her.
“It’s just a big cover up. That’s all it is, lies,” Don Meyer said as state troopers escorted him to a police car after the hearing.
He blames the constable for his daughter’s death
“Heartbreaking,” he said. “He shot right at my daughter. He seen her and he shot her.”
Meyer is headed to trial on charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, illegal possession of a firearm, involuntary manslaughter, simple assault, endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangerment, and terroristic threats.
“We are obviously pleased all charges were bound over by the judge and we will take the appropriate steps from here,” Bender said.
“We are happy with the outcome today, and I personally hope it continues to move forward and he faces the murder charges and is convicted of them,” Rhode said.
Before Meyer was returned to prison, he looked at the news cameras surrounding him.
“Hey, Perry County prison, I’m coming home, guys,” he said.