Dad faces homicide charge in death of girl shot by police

NEW BLOOMFIELD, Pa. (AP) – The father of a 12-year-old Pennsylvania girl accidentally shot by a constable serving eviction papers was charged Thursday with homicide in her death.

Donald Meyer, 57, pointed a loaded rifle at Constable Clark Steele on Jan. 11 and Steele fired a single shot in return. The bullet traveled through Meyer’s arm and struck Ciara Meyer, who was standing behind her father.

Meyer’s “extremely reckless actions” in leveling a rifle at Steele’s chest led to his daughter’s death, Perry County District Attorney Andrew Bender said Thursday. Steele shot at Meyer in self-defense and will not face charges, the prosecutor said.

Meyer, who already faced aggravated assault and other charges in the case, was charged Thursday with homicide and involuntary manslaughter. He has been jailed without bail since his release from the hospital. His public defender did not immediately return a phone call Thursday seeking comment on the charges.

Authorities said Steele had gone to Meyer’s apartment to evict the family. According to court documents, Meyer opened the door, closed it, then opened it again and briefly argued with Steele about the eviction before raising his rifle. Steele pulled out his service pistol and fired, and the bullet passed through Meyer’s upper arm before hitting his daughter in the chest.

Meyer also faces a firearms charge. He was not permitted to have a gun under state law because he had been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility in 2011, Bender said.

Meyer is due in court Feb. 12 for a preliminary hearing. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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