Oklahoma state troopers say they were “concerned” for a pastor’s safety when they tried to rescue him from deep flood waters that were splashing across a roadway.
But that was before they shot and killed the pastor, then arrested his brother.
The incident took place Friday while Texas and Oklahoma were suffering from severe flooding, stranding many motorists in rising waters, including 35-year-old Nehemiah Fischer, a local pastor, and his brother, Brandon. After receiving a call around 9 p.m. about the truck stuck in the flood, troopers Mark Southall and Michael Taylor drove out there to “provide assistance”.
But dash cam video shows that assistance was nothing more than yelling at the two men to get out of the knee-deep water as they were trying to push their stalled car to higher road.
Southall sounds very aggressive in the tiny portion of video that was released, which does not show what happened before the altercation or the moments leading to the fatal shots.
But it does show the pastor walking up to Southhall after stepping out of the water and push him before both men disappear from the camera frame. And it shows Taylor pulling out his gun, only for Brandon to lift his finger towards that trooper as if telling him not to shoot. Taylor can been backing up a few steps with his gun still drawn before the video ends.
Police say both officers fired upon the pastor but they have not stated who fired the fatal round. And as mentioned, did not include that part in the video they released.
The troopers reportedly found a weapon belonging to Nehemiah Fischer, but they would not disclose whether or not he had brandished or threatened officers with it. The video does not show Fischer wielding a gun.
According to The Guardian:
“He’s not the kind of guy that’s going to pull a gun on anybody,” a friend of Fischer, Mike Haesloop, told The Guardian. “He’s more one that’s going to pray for you.”
“He would not be one to disrespect them or go after them,” his wife Laura told the local Fox affiliate, . “If anything ever happened in the news that was negative toward police, he was more on the side of the police, so for something like this to happen just doesn’t make any sense.”
Both officers have been placed on administrative leave as the investigation is currently active. Brandon Fischer was charged with public intoxication and simple assault.
“A handgun was found,” Captain Paul Timmons told the Guardian. “I can’t verify whether it was being brandished but the deceased individual did have a handgun … the investigators are still trying to determine how many shots were fired. We know there was more than one but an exact number, I don’t have that information available yet.”
For all we know, the gun was found inside the stalled car that was stuck in the water. The lack of transparency by the department on key details of the incident and only releasing a tiny portion of the video has left many unanswered questions.