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Father loses daughter in deadly Sedalia traffic stop; change is underway

John Fizer, Hannah Fizer's Father
Posted at 9:52 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 23:35:09-05

SEDALIA, Mo. — There's a single surveillance video camera that recorded Hannah Fizer's last moments alive before a Pettis County sheriff's deputy shot and killed her during a traffic stop in June.

It’s hard to watch — not even her father has done so.

"I don't feel like I can watch my daughter be murdered," John Fizer, Hannah's father, told 41 Action News on Monday.

RELATED: Surveillance footage shows what happened night Sedalia woman was shot, killed by deputy

The video, part of the case file that 41 Action News obtained from the Missouri State Highway Patrol through an open records request, shows the Pettis County deputy trying to pull Hannah Fizer out of the car.

"I know that little 140-pound girl was no threat to him," John Fizer said.

But it quickly escalated with the deputy firing his weapon five times, killing Fizer. No one renders first aid to the 25-year-old woman until paramedics arrive almost seven minutes later.

"And I don't even know if I have any words for that. It makes me sick in my stomach," John Fizer said.

A special prosecutor in the case ruled the shooting was justified, even though Fizer wasn't armed.

That prosecutor said the lack of any other video than this one made the decision tough.

The deputy who fired the deadly shots is back at work.

"I think the guy needs to go and anybody else that's a liability, not just him," John Fizer said.

Capt. Tolbert Rowe, who oversees law enforcement operations at the Pettis County Sheriff's Office, said that since the shooting, the agency is making crisis intervention training a priority.

"The more you slow it down, the more likelihood of a better outcome with this situation," Rowe said. "Sometimes things have been very, very, very fast, and a lot of time to draw it down and drag it out may not be practical."

The department also has purchased 23 body cameras that every deputy, school resource officer and bailiff will wear while on duty. So far, dash cameras have been installed in two of their patrol vehicles.

"The entire situation is a tragedy. I told someone who knew Hannah that I continue to pray for the family, and our hearts still go out for them," Rowe said.

At the beginning of the new year, the department will have a new sheriff, Brad Anders. Fizer's family says Anders has promised them change.

"I don't ever want this to happen anybody else because this is a rough one," John Fizer said.