SEDALIA, Mo. — A Pettis County sheriff’s deputy says the woman he shot and killed threatened to shoot him, but investigators said Tuesday they can’t find the gun.
Body cameras could clear up exactly what happened Saturday night in Sedalia, but the sheriff’s office that once had the equipment no longer does.
A memorial is set up where Hannah Fizer was killed by a Pettis County sheriff’s deputy. People rallied Tuesday evening in front of the sheriff’s office, demanding answers to how a traffic stop escalated — ending with the 25-year-old dead.
Investigators said the deputy stopped Fizer in Sedalia after she ran a red light on Saturday. The Missouri State Highway Patrol initially said the deputy shot Fizer after she said she had a gun and threatened to shoot him.
“For them to say that she had a gun and that she was going to shoot them is completely out of character for her,” longtime family friend Alexis Marcum said.
But on Tuesday, investigators who searched her car did not find a weapon.
“For a cop to sit there and say they felt threatened by 140-pound woman in her car is beyond me,” Marcum said.
“We’re going through to determine what happened,” MHSP Sgt. Bill Lowe said. “Those are questions that we’re going to try to answer through that investigation.”
According to Pettis County Sherrif Kevin Bond, just a verbal threat does not justify the use of deadly force. However, he said it’s too soon in the investigation to know what other factors may have led the deputy to fire his gun.
“Not just a verbal threat,” Bond said. “There needs to be other factors that come into play, and obviously that’s what the investigation is looking into.”
No body camera or dash camera footage of the incident exists. Bond said they had body cameras three years ago, but they have had technical issues.
The department hasn’t been able to replace those cameras because of their costs. Bond said he has not specifically asked commissioners for the extra money either.
“It is a sizable investment, and then there’s also a continuing cost that’s associated with it as well,” Bond said. “We’re a small agency. We have a lot of different demands that come into play.”
Bond said the deputy involved in the incident has been placed on administrative leave. He has been with the department since 2007.
After this deadly shooting, Bond said he assigned one of his captains to start reviewing the departments policies and procedures for use of force.
As for this investigation, MHSP will continue investigating and see if there are other factors into why the deputy fired his weapon.
“It sucks that someone like that was taken out of the world,” Marcum said. “She was a beautiful soul. She was fun. She was wild. She was spunky, and she was a sweetheart.”
Fizer’s family has hired an attorney. They declined to comment Tuesday.