Father to be tried in death of daughter shot by constable

AP News
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Posted: Apr 05, 2016 7:44 PM

ENOLA, Pa. (AP) — The father of a 12-year-old Pennsylvania girl accidentally shot by a constable serving eviction papers has been ordered to stand trial in her death.

A judge on Tuesday upheld charges including criminal homicide and aggravated assault against 58-year-old Donald Meyer in the Jan. 11 death of Ciara Meyer.

Authorities said Meyer pointed a loaded rifle at the constable, who fired a shot that traveled through Meyer's arm and struck the girl, who was standing behind her father.

Constable Clark Steele testified that he told Meyer through the door that he was being evicted and heard him say, "I'm not going to let that happen." He said when Meyer opened the door, he could see Ciara's face to the left and then he saw the rifle coming up, pointed at his upper chest.

"I said, 'No, no, no, oh God no,'" Steele said. He said the then spun away against the building and fired one shot at Meyer. "I knew I was dying," he said, adding he had no place to retreat. "I was waiting on the flash."

Steele said he thought he had hit Meyer "dead center." He said he backed out and called 911.

Susan Evans, of the Office of Consumer Protection in the state Attorney General's Office, said Meyer had called five days earlier, complaining that people weren't listening to the issues he was raising.

"He said he had been to the news and he would go down in a hail of gunfire if he had to," Evans said.

Sherry Meyer, the defendant's wife, testified that Meyer had told her he was "not going out as a man, but as a warrior."

An apartment complex employee testified that video of the confrontation shows the girl crying "Dad, Dad, please stop" and trying to grab her father's arm before the shot.

PennLive.com reports that Meyer called the case "a big cover-up" after the hearing and blamed the constable, who isn't facing any charges.

In Pennsylvania, constables are elected officials with limited law enforcement powers. They serve warrants, transport prisoners and perform other duties for Pennsylvania's district courts, the lowest level of the judiciary.