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Father Charged In Death Of 12-Year-Old Girl Shot By Officer

Donald Meyer was charged with criminal homicide and manslaughter for the Jan. 11 shooting that killed his daughter Ciara Meyer.

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The father of the 12-year-old girl who was killed by a police officer in a small Pennsylvania town has been charged in the child's death, authorities said Thursday.

Donald Meyer was charged with criminal homicide, involuntary manslaughter and other charges relating to the Jan. 11 death of his daughter Ciara Meyer, according to the Perry County district attorney's office. The girl was killed when her father aimed a loaded rifle at a Pennsylvania State constable who was attempting to serve him with an eviction notice, prompting the constable to fire one round at the father. The bullet wound up going through Donald Meyer's upper arm and struck Ciara Meyer in the chest, according to police records.

"Mr. Meyer's reckless conduct, knowing his daughter was standing behind him, triggered a chain of events that tragically led to the death of Ciara Meyer," Perry County District Attorney Andrew Bender said in a press release.

In addition to the charges relating to Ciara Meyer's death, Donald Meyer was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. He was initially charged with assault and has been in jail since being released from the hospital, but following an investigation of the incident, the charges against him were upgraded Thursday.

Constable Clark Steele had been serving the family with an eviction notice at their Duncannon home at 10 a.m. on Jan. 11 when the incident unfolded. Ciara Meyer was standing just behind her father when he aimed a loaded .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle at the constable, officials said. The constable fired one shot in self-defense, according to the district attorney's office.

Steele has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting and the district attorney's office said he will not face any charges.

In addition to the loaded rifle, police recovered two additional rifles and eight loaded 30-round magazines of ammunition sitting on a chair at the kitchen table, according to police records. Donald Meyer was not authorized to own firearms because he had been involuntarily committed to a mental institution in 2011.


Jessica Simeone is a news assignment editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Jessica Simeone at jessica.simeone@buzzfeed.com.

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