While family, friends push for answers in Sedalia woman’s death, autopsy results could take months

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SEDALIA, Mo. — A medical examiner is now performing an autopsy on 25-year-old Hannah Fizer, the woman shot and killed by a Pettis County sheriff’s deputy Saturday.

There are still many questions about what led up to the fatal shooting just off Highway 50 in Sedalia. Fizer’s family and friends are raising their voices, determined to get to the bottom of it all.

Laura Cooper can’t believe Hannah Fizer is gone. Fizer and Cooper’s daughter, Kathleen, grew up together, graduating from Marshall High in 2014.

“She was one of the best because she was not a trouble maker. She was always there,” Cooper said. “If you needed somebody, she’d be there for you. She’d give you her shirt off her back if you needed it.”

Even though Cooper’s daughter now lives out of state, they’ve all stayed in touch. Fizer referred to her as “Momma Laura” and bonded with her grandkids.

Cooper said she’s confident Fizer would never hurt or threaten to hurt anyone, which is what the deputy who shot and killed her told investigators.  

“Hannah would not threaten a cop like that,” Cooper said. “It just wasn’t in her behavior. I knew there had to be more to the story than what was being told.”

With a spotlight on police use of force nationwide, many in Sedalia are now asking tough questions about why Fizer was shot. 

“If he thought he was in that much danger, why didn’t he mace her, tase her? He didn’t have to shoot her,” Cooper said.

Pettis County’s own use of force policy says firearms are only to be used “after all other reasonable means have been exhausted,” and that, “deadly force shall never be used on mere suspicion of a crime, no matter how serious, has been committed.”

Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond has indicated his office is now reviewing its entire use of force policy in light of this case.

“I think you know if it was anybody else, they would go down for murder,” Cooper said, “and I think this officer needs to be charged.”

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is continuing its investigation but said after searching Fizer’s car, they did not find a gun.

There was no body or dash camera video of the shooting, but troopers plan to review surveillance footage from a neighboring business.

Answers can’t come soon enough for those Fizer leaves behind.

“We’ll get justice. She’s going to get justice,” Cooper said.

An online petition and Facebook group calling for the deputy who shot Fizer to be held accountable are gaining thousands of supporters. 

Friends are planning a protest at the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office at 5 p.m. Thursday night. Fizer’s funeral is set for Sunday

Fizer’s autopsy is being conducted in Columbia, Missouri. The coroner said results won’t be back for approximately 90 days, and they do not anticipate any preliminary findings would be released before that.

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