Penn Township, Pa — 12-year-old Ciara Meyer was shot and killed by a police officer this Monday morning as her family was being evicted from their home. According to police, her father, 57-year-old Donald B. Meyer, pointed a gun at Pennsylvania State Constable Clarke Steele during the eviction. The police say that Steele shot at Meyer when he had the gun pulled on him, and grazed the man’s arm. However, the bullet went on to fatally strike young Ciara Meyer after it went through her father.
Donald Meyer was taken to the hospital but was also charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats, and reckless endangerment.
An unidentified neighbor told local reporters that Ciara was 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. It’s horrible, absolutely heartbreaking,” the neighbor said.
Meyer’s aunt, Hope Cordas Rohde, wrote on Facebook that, “We are so broken as she was just a little girl and we loved her so much. My heart hurts so very much. Such a sad world this is when an innocent child is shot and killed. May God give us peace.”
According to PennLive.com, the family owed $1,780.85 in rent, which was roughly 3 months behind for them.
Pennsylvania state police spokesman Trooper Rob Hicks said that there was a long and ongoing process to evict the family from their home, and that police had been to the location on several other occasions. Monday morning was to be when the police would begin forcibly removing the family from their home.
“His lawful job, because he had a valid court order, was to remove them from the property if they had not already moved,” Hicks said.
The local school district said in a recent statement that they would be providing psychological help to any students who may be traumatized by the loss and the situation.
“As previously shared, we can confirm that a police incident took place late Monday morning at the Pfautz Apartments in Duncannon. Procedures are in place across the District to address potential impacts of this incident to our students and staff. Susquenita administration and additional professional staff (psychologists and guidance counselors) are working in conjunction with counselors from Holy Spirit (Teen Line) to provide support to students and staff as needed,” the statement read.
A GoFundMe account has been set up by the school to help cover Ciara’s funeral costs.
Ciara is the 21st person and the first child to be killed by law enforcement in 2016, according to an ongoing Guardian investigation. In 2015, at least 1,138 people were killed by police, according to the same investigation.
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