DUNCANNON, PA (CBS/AP) – A constable serving an eviction order at a central Pennsylvania apartment fired at an armed tenant but the bullet passed through the man’s arm and fatally struck his 12-year-old daughter, authorities said.
The constable went to the apartment near Duncannon, about 10 miles northwest of Harrisburg, at about 10 a.m. Monday to enforce a district judge’s eviction order, state police said Tuesday.
A man answered the door, closed it, then reopened it and exchanged words briefly with the constable, police said. He then pointed a loaded .223-caliber rifle that had been “slung and concealed along his body” at the constable’s chest, police said. The girl was standing behind her father, authorities said.
The constable, investigators said, drew his own .40-caliber weapon and fired once, but the bullet went through the man’s upper left arm and hit the girl. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name wasn’t immediately released.
State police said the suspect’s rifle was found “with a loaded chamber and a magazine containing 30 rounds.”
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.
PennLive.com reports that constables are elected at the municipal level to serve six-year terms. The last constable election in Pennsylvania was in 2015. Constables are allowed to carry firearms, but they do not have to, PennLive.com reports.
PennLive.com reports that if a constable does plan to carry a firearm, they are required to go through 40 hours of basic firearms training and become certified. After they receive their initial firearms certification, armed constables must take 20 hours of annual firearms training every year.
The man being evicted, Donald Meyer, 57, was flown to Hershey Medical Center for treatment. He is charged with aggravated and simple assault, terroristic threats, and recklessly endangering another person. A phone listed in his name wasn’t working Tuesday and court documents don’t list an attorney who could respond to the accusations.
Apartment complex employees were at the scene to assist with and witness the eviction and provided statements to investigators, police said.
The Susquenita School District, while not commenting on whether the girl was a student in the district, said psychologists and guidance counselors were working with counselors to provided support to students and staff.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.