In what is turning out to be a questionable shooting, a sheriff’s deputy in Missouri shot and killed a 25-year-old woman Saturday night after she ran a red light, claiming to have feared for his life after she threatened to shoot him.
But no gun was ever found in Hannah Fizer’s car and her father believes she was holding a phone in her hand.
And that would mean the deputy fabricated the story about the gun.
Unfortunately, the shooting was not captured on body or dash cam video because the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office stopped using the cameras three years ago because of “technical difficulties and a lack of funding,” according to KOMU.
However, a witness gave the following description to the Kansas City Star:
The man who witnessed the shooting said the emergency lights first got his attention as he sat outside a nearby hotel.
He saw a county sheriff vehicle following a car off U.S. Highway 50. Neither seemed to be speeding, he said.
Then he heard a man shout “stop, stop,” followed by five “pops.”
The man walked closer to see what happened before more police arrived and taped off the area, restricting access.
“That’s when I saw him covering her up with a sheet from head to toe,” he said.
Fizer was on her way to work at a convenience store when the deputy tried to pull her over for running the red light. He said she did not stop at first but eventually did.
According to the Associated Press:
The Missouri State Highway Patrol, which is investigating the shooting, said Fizer was shot Saturday night after she said she had a gun and threatened to shoot the deputy.
“The suspect allegedly threatened the deputy by stating she was armed and going to shoot him,” the patrol said in a news release. “The incident escalated and the deputy discharged his weapon, striking the suspect.”
Fizer’s father, John Fizer, said Monday that she never carried a gun and he doesn’t believe she became belligerent with the officer. He suspects his daughter had her phone in her hand “because she always had her phone in her hand.”
Her co-workers were also shocked at the allegations that she would threaten to shoot a deputy, according to the Kansas City Star.
When a customer was being rude to one of her coworkers, Fizer came out from the back and took a stance by the counter next to her friend, Hathaway recalled.
“She was the type of person who would’ve stood up until her legs gave out for what was right,” Hathaway said.
Fizer was always smiling. When someone needed a shift picked up, she was there to help, her colleagues said.
Jennifer Archambault, 37, is the manager at Muddy Creek Eagle Stop where Fizer was headed to work the night she was killed.
Fizer made everything better, Archambault said. In the days since her death, people dropping by the Eagle Stops have been asking how the employees are doing, often expressing anger at Fizer’s killing.
Another one of Fizer’s colleagues, Tammy Halferty, 56, and State Fair Eagle Stop manager Roni Edde, 34, saw Fizer about 8 p.m. Saturday as she waited in line to fill up her gas tank.
She was in good spirits, Edde said. He recalled how Fizer popped inside the store to say, “Hey girl.”
“And by 10 o’clock, she was dead,” Halferty said.
The shooting has increased tensions in the rural community where law enforcement is usually beloved as heroes but is now being scrutinized. The criticism prompted Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond has written an open letter to the community, stating the following:
I need your help. We are in the midst of dealing with a tragic event in the death of Hannah Fizer, and my prayers go out to her family and friends. But the onslaught of shock, commercial media coverage, social media outcry, and raw emotion is beginning to devolve into a dangerous situation for our community.
Last night, the criminal element among us ramped up its efforts to begin its own version of “Social Justice.” One of my deputies, not involved whatsoever with the shooting or its investigation, has been singled out and targeted for harassment, stalking, and has been threatened with serious assault. His name and photograph is posted on social media, and calls for his child to be harmed are rampant. There are lies circulating about both him and Hannah with this. The truth does not matter to the instigators, and unsuspecting people are being sucked into the hatred. We are beginning to see people who are willing to resort to criminal behavior and taking advantage of this situation to turn it into social chaos.
It does not stop there. Deputies addresses are being circulated, there are calls for both me and the Chief of Police to resign or be thrown out of office, and last night I received an extortion email to release my name and home address on social media if I do not comply with unreasonable demands. Your Pettis County Prosecutor is also receiving pressure and threats from fringe elements to take actions based on people’s feelings, not the truth. Careless activities have been occurring around the Pettis County Courthouse complex and in the downtown Sedalia area. Do you want this to continue and cause irrevocable harm to our community?
Are you willing to allow Pettis County to become the test project for some Social Justice experiment for Rural America? I certainly hope not. Our nation is facing difficult times, and we are facing a difficult issue right here in our hometown. But it is important to remember that we must have faith in the American Way, and not allow this type of Social In-Justice to establish a stronghold here.
I am the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of this County. You have vested in me the authority to “quell and suppress assaults and batteries, riots, routs, affrays, and insurrections…” I will carry this out to the best of my ability and continue to do what I believe is in the best interest of our community. I will not tolerate criminal behavior nor allow your properties to be damaged.
I need every person’s help in doing this. I need you to think rationally and not just with emotion. We are all hurting and we need time to heal. I need you to stand with me and not tolerate unreasonable behavior. I need you to step up to support and defend the rule of law. And most of all, I need for us to communicate with each other and live together peaceably. We are the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave. Let’s keep it that way.
My door has and remains open to every one of you. Please do not allow a small but aggressive element that has reared its ugly head to take that from you.
The name of the deputy has not been released but he has been with the agency since 2007 and reportedly has no complaints against him, according to the sheriff. Hannah’s prior arrests include a DWI and a marijuana bust.