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Spokesman describes constable's reaction to fatally shooting girl

Mourners set up a small memorial for Ciara Meyer, 12, who was fatally shot while her father was served with an eviction notice near Duncannon, Pennsylvania, Jan. 11, 2016.

WHP-TV

Last Updated Jan 13, 2016 11:13 AM EST

DUNCANNON, Pa. -- A 12-year-old Pennsylvania girl was home sick from school when she was accidentally shot and killed by a constable serving her father with an eviction notice, authorities said.

The girl's father, 57-year-old Donald Meyer, pointed a loaded rifle at Constable Clark Steele and Steele fired a single shot in return, the bullet traveling through Meyer's arm and striking Ciara Meyer, who was standing behind him, state police said.

Steele is "completely distraught over this incident - this is the worst nightmare any of us as constables can encounter," Bill Stoeffler, a Dauphin County constable and spokesman for the region's constables' association, told pennlive.com.

Stoeffler said it was "absolutely not intentional" that the girl was shot.

The bullet shattered a bone in Meyer's arm, and he was flown to the hospital for treatment. Meyer was charged with aggravated assault and other offenses.

Steele was not injured during the incident, CBS Harrisburg affiliate WHP-TV reports.

Steele's visit to the apartment near Duncannon should have been expected by Meyer because the constable had been there "numerous times" about the eviction, and had given Meyer a Jan. 11 deadline to move out, authorities said.

"It was absolutely no surprise he was coming at this date and time," said Trooper Rob Hicks, state police spokesman.

Steele was there to enforce a magistrate's eviction order. Court documents show Donald and Sherry Meyer owed about $1,780 in back rent and court costs.

The family had not appealed the eviction order, Hicks said.

"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 of the constable.

An autopsy was set for Wednesday. The Perry County district attorney is reviewing the shooting.