A 12-year-old Pennsylvania girl was shot and killed by a police officer who was attempting to enforce an eviction of her family after the girl's father pulled a rifle on the cop, Penn Live reports.
Ciara Meyer's father, 57-year-old Donald Meyer, has been charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person, the Pennsylvania State Police confirmed in a release regarding the tragic Jan. 11 shooting.
Constable Clarke Steele was attempting to make contact with the Meyer family to enforce the valid eviction order when Donald Meyer allegedly opened the door of the home and then shut it closed. Meyer then allegedly reopened the door, holding a loaded rifle at the constable's chest, the police said in the statement.
"Constable Steele attempted to make contact with the suspect, who lived at the residence with his wife and daughter. The suspect opened the door to the residence and then shut it. 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," the statement read.
Steele reportedly returned fire with his .40-caliber service weapon, hitting Meyer in his upper left arm. The bullet, however, traveled through Meyer's arm and hit 12-year-old Ciara, killing the young girl, who was standing directly behind her father during the confrontation.
"The bullet traveled through the suspect's arm and struck the suspect's 12 year old daughter, who was standing directly behind her father. The suspect was flown to the Hershey Medical Center, where he is undergoing medical care," the statement said. "The suspect's daughter was pronounced dead at the scene. Employees of the apartment complex were on scene to assist and witness the eviction. They did witness the incident and provided statements to investigators."
According to The Independent, officials are still determining whether to file charges against the constable.
ABC 27 News reports that Ciara, a student at Susquenita Middle School, was home that day because she was sick. A neighbor, whose daughter was friends with Ciara, called her a "very kind, sweet kid."
"Here's a little girl that doesn't even have a chance to grow up and live her life, and all because of this senseless act," the neighbor said, according to ABC 27 News. "It's horrible, absolutely heartbreaking."
A GoFundMe page has been started to raise funds for Ciara's funeral. Funds will also go toward a scholarship that will be created by the Susquenita School District, ABC 27 reports.