Assistant Pastor Shot Dead To Save Him From Drowning

There’s an old saying; “You don’t need to ask a drowning man if he wants to be saved.”

Seven people have died due to floods in Oklahoma, and now there is an additional death but not one that came from drowning. Rather, law enforcement officers stated they were trying to save the man from being swept away by the rising water.


Nehemiah Blessed Fischer

Friday night, Oklahoma Highway Patrol responded to a stranded motorist call near Tulsa. One vehicle was trying to push another from a roadway amid fast-moving waters. The two drivers were Nehemiah Fischer, 35 and his brother, Brandon, 40. Nehemiah was assistant pastor at Faith Bible Church in Tulsa.

The troopers say that the brothers attacked them, and they shot Nehemiah in self-defense.

Nehemiah was pronounced dead at the scene and Brandon was arrested for assault and public intoxication,

Details are unclear, but Capt. Paul Timmons of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the confrontation occurred after the troopers told them to leave the vehicle and come to safety on higher ground when the two brothers became “really upset” about having to leave the vehicle in the water.

Capt. Timmons said Nehemiah had a weapon, but officials have not said if the weapon was used or shown. Nehemiah’s wife of less than a year wants to see the dash cam video.

The names of the troopers have not been released but it was reported that as of Sunday, they were placed on administrative leave.

More on this on The Guardian.

This is case we would like to follow, so if anyone gets updates, feel free to post them in the comment section.


Hat tip to Glenn.  Here are the photos of the two troopers.


Mark Southall. Has been on the force for 8 years.


Michael Taylor. Has been on the force for a year.




Posted on 06/01/2015, in Cases, Nehemiah Fischer and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 73 Comments.

  1. Oh goodness 😦 🙏

  2. Serving and protecting us to death. Maybe an umbrella was mistaken for an assault weapon.

  3. crustyolemothman

    There will be a video record of this due to the state of Oklahoma’s use of video recorders in their vehicles. However nothing is in place to ensure that the public actually have access to that video… It has been noted that the use of video and audio recording is a two edged sword and will sometimes not show the results that some desire. Hopefully the “real” truth will come out and “true” justice will be served.

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Yes, and with it being at night, the officers probably shined their headlights on the truck and car of the brothers in the ditch. Apparently it was was foggy that night and so that might affect the clarity of the cruiser cam’s video.

    • Mothman, Nehemiah’s wife insists on seeing the dash cam. It may or may not have recorded everything necessary, but either way, she has to deal with the two edged sword possibility. For now, she has to bury her husband.

  4. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Where in heaven’s name are we headed to? Really??

  5. It doesn’t make sense! Most guys (and gals) keep a gun in their truck. It’s every American’s right to bear arms. I notice they are careful to simply say, he had a gun. and not, he brandished a gun, or fired a gun. He had a gun… means diddly squat to me.

    An assistant pastor with his brother, obviously a call for help from the flooding truck and two patrol officers can’t manage to do their jobs without fucking shooting and killing one of them! I don’t buy it. Something else went on, and the police are obviously trying to scapegoat the brothers right off the back by mentioning that a gun was in their possession.

    Sorry, I don’t buy it. One of the guys is an assistant pastor and that simply goes too far against the grain.

    • Hey Kev! You are thinking along the same lines that I pondered. Oklahoma has concealed and open carry laws. The wife should know whether Nehemiah carried, but maybe doesn’t want to say.

      • Could be his brother’s gun too. 🙂

        • Kev, it was reported yesterday that Nehemiah was gifted a gun for his birthday. His birthday was 4/14. The short portion of the dash cam video released upset me. The troopers were very disrespectful. They spoke to them as if they were committing a crime. This is a sad situation.

          • That’s what I had suspected about the troopers. Make me sick! Bastards ought to be fired, not suspended, and then tried… for murder.

  6. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Brother Of Tulsa Man Killed By OHP Trooper Expected In Court”
    Jun 01, 2015 9:35 AM EDT

    The following linked article discusses more of the controversy (includes family’s side of the story as told to them by Brandon from jail.) :
    What happened isn’t yet clear, however.

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      This was an excerpt:

      “What happened isn’t yet clear, however.”

  7. yahtzeebutterfly


    “SCOTUS rules in favor of man convicted of posting threatening messages on Facebook”


    Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Pennsylvania man who posted several threatening messages on Facebook and was convicted under a federal threat statute.

    The Court held that the standard used to convict him was too low. According to Chief Justice Roberts, “Our holding makes clear that negligence is not sufficient to support a conviction.”

    The ruling marks the first time the Court addressed the implications of free speech on social media.

    • Yahtzee, I would like to point something out about the SCOTUS decision. The man was convicted of a federal offense. People should not confuse that with state laws.

      • yahtzeebutterfly

        Thanks for making that important point about state laws, Xena.

        My grandson yesterday was explaining Brandenburg v. Ohio and the 3-pronged test.

        • That is why the government will place certain people on a “watch” list. No arrest can be made unless there is an attempt to actually carry it out.

          I’m not sure — maybe you took an interest in the recent SCOTUS decision because it involved Facebook. The elements of the Elonis case are very different than cyberharassment. It involved threats to law enforcement making it a federal offense. Elonis was charged under federal law, stood trial, and was convicted.

          • yahtzeebutterfly

            I actually took an interest in the decision because I had just had a conversation yesterday with my grandson about hate speech and Brandenburg v. Ohio.

            That is why the government will place certain people on a “watch” list. No arrest can be made unless there is an attempt to actually carry it out.

            Thanks for explaining that to me.

            • scrodriguez

              Hate speech is NOT protected speech period!

            • Yahtzee,
              I was thinking about your comment of thinking about the Brandenburg case when posting the link to the Elonis case. I’m confused with the comparison. The Brandenburg case was to determine whether an Ohio statute was unconstitutional in forbidding free speech. The Elonis case was to determine whether prosecutors proved intent behind threats posted on Facebook as rap lyrics.

              The Brandenburg case involved the KKK inviting a news person to come to one of their rallies where they spoke of using violence against the government. The Elonis case involved him expressing threats against personal parties, such as his ex-wife, members of LE, and an FBI agent.

              The Brandenburg case involved a rally where only the KKK and the news person was present. It did not involve hate speech because no “protected” group was present.

              Although both cases addressed free speech, they are very distinguishable. For a case involving hate speech in public vs. free speech and state law, see Beauharnais v. Illinois, 343 US 250 – Supreme Court 1952

            • yahtzeebutterfly


              Tonight, I just found your important comment here.

              I appreciate that you shared this information with me, and am also glad to learn of Beauharnais v. Illinois, 343 US 250 – Supreme Court 1952 (I looked it up and read through the decision and am encouraged to learn that Beauharnais lost his appeal and that his conviction was upheld. Whew, what a heinous, racist libel he committed and what awful consequences he was hoping to create by his distribution of that leaflet.)

            • Yahtzee, no problem. Isn’t the Beauharnais decision interesting?

            • yahtzeebutterfly

              Yes, you get a lot of history with it.

            • yahtzeebutterfly

              That is, one learns a lot of history as one reads it.

    • Yahtzee, if you want to see the history of the case and the Appellate Court’s decision that went before SCOTUS, here is a link.

      • yahtzeebutterfly

        I just read it. Thanks.

        He communicated horrible threats. That’s what common sense tells me. Guess common sense does not trump the legal standard that SCOTUS uses.

        • Yahtzee, what SCOTUS decided was that government prosecutors failed to prove intent. In other words, Elonis’ defense was that he was expressing himself, without intent to carry out the threats.

  8. yahtzeebutterfly

    Will the Tulsa police be having a press conference regarding the fatal shooting of Nehemiah Fischer today? I haven’t seen anything about it today, but one of the articles I read earlier stated that there would be a press conference today.

  9. OMG… what is it with the Police over there.. ? Crazy…

    • Hey Sue. This is what I think;
      The NRA pushed for conceal carry. Now, with any citizen who looks old enough to have a conceal carry license, law enforcement can assume that they carry a gun. With that assumption, (or even if it’s true), it gives them the right to fear for their safety, and that fear gives them the right to shoot citizens.

  10. kindheart101

    For GOD’S SAKE….

    DON’T put your hands up

    DON’T walk at night

    If you’re a child…DON’T play with a TOY gun

    DON’T drive an old car that could backfire

    Don’t try to save your car from flood waters

    Stay inside. If you venture out, pray you DON’T run into a police officer. Should you encounter the police, (even though you’ve done nothing wrong) lay on the ground and put your hands behind your back. DO NOT speak to them. DO NOT look at them. Any movement can be taken as a threat by them.

    If you’re chewing gum, swallow it promptly, as it could be claimed it was spat at an officer as a deadly projectile!

    If you have to pass gas, pray it doesn’t stink, or the officer will swear he was shooting at the skunk in your pants.

    Unfortunately, this is about as crazy as it’s become. We absolutely need to have cameras on every single police officer on duty! And even more important, they have to be held ACCOUNTABLE for their actions, just like every other citizen! Just because you put on a uniform and flash a badge, that doesn’t give you the right to KILL!

    • Hey Kindheart! Let’s add;
      If you’re out of your vehicle when asked for license and registration, don’t bend down inside to get it.

      If you’re in a store and walk through the toy gun section, don’t pick one up.

      If you’re in an assistant living residential home for the elderly or mentally ill, never raise your voice, and don’t keep any knives in the kitchen.

      Don’t look for help from citizens when you’re in a car accident by knocking on doors.

      • kindheart101

        And even more depressing is how long we could continue with this deadly list.

        I totally agree with your statement about this world going to hell in a hand basket.

        • yahtzeebutterfly


          So sad.

          Yet, at least, in my opinion:

          The bad cops and their in-house supporters no doubt are feeling “down” as they realize their cover-ups are easily discovered by a greater segment of the population due to witness videotaping and instant reporting through internet.

          They can no longer keep their illegal deeds hidden from the public. In addition, what used to be known perhaps only locally is now known nationally. The bad cops can no longer escape the spotlight nor have their departments successfully convince the public that they did nothing wrong even if the bad cops escape prosecution or conviction.

          • kindheart101

            Hey Yahtzee!

            But I still cautiously ask myself, is the glass half full, or half empty?

            Even with everything the police have been caught doing, I have to wonder just how much more they are able to hide. There will not always be a cell phone present to document abuse.

            We have become a nation where the people have to police the police!

            • yahtzeebutterfly

              Excellent response, Kindheart, with which I am in agreement.

              Somehow we have to figure out how to prevent innocent lives from being lost.

              Questions on this issue must be put to Presidential candidates and candidates running for other offices. We cannot go on letting them remain silent when so many unarmed people are dying.

              Our country and our police departments can do better to root out the bad cops and the biased cops.

  11. Two sides to a story

    Now we’ve heard everything! This country is so badly in need of law enforcement reform that we can’t even believe any reports that any of them make any more. Fire them all and start over with new policy!

  12. yahtzeebutterfly

    Tweets about OHP news conference:

    Allison Harris ‏@allisonlharris 17m17 minutes ago
    BREAKING: Brandon Fischer bond totals $4,100 for both counts of public intox. & assaulting officer. @NewsOn6

    News On 6 retweeted
    Allison Harris ‏@allisonlharris 16m16 minutes ago
    Fischer’s attorney, Smallwood, says he was hired this morning and doesn’t know specifics of case.

    News On 6 retweeted
    Lori Fullbright ‏@LoriFullbright 9m9 minutes ago
    OHP says video clearly shows Nehemiah Fischer lunging at trooper.

    They say will release entire video once they can get it dubbed for media.

    OHP says both troopers were in uniform and identified themselves.

  13. yahtzeebutterfly

    Here is an article summarizing the press conference with a video showing part of the cruiser’s cam video:

    (This article says that Brandon Fischer’s bond was set at $2,200.)

  14. Dashcam footage of police killing Preacher. Police talking to men like dogs. Police officer called the men boys.

    • Thanks for the video, Glenn. What happened to sounding respectful, such as asking, “You guys need help?” The disrespect shown by those troopers escalated a situation where Nehemiah and Brandon were already agitated trying to save their property.

      • Exactly Xena. And there is more to the video that the police have not released yet.

        • Thanks for the photos. I updated the article to include them. So, both troopers fired their weapons. How do you like the one saying he was going to shoot?

          • So much for ‘Serve and protect’. smh

            I will keep saying it. Disarm the police.

            • I saw the one trooper put his hand on his gun as the men were coming out of the water.

            • yahtzeebutterfly


              I missed that, but after viewing the video again, I now see that the ofc. on the left did in fact put his hand on his gun as he was say, “Come on out!”

              What a bizarre way to “rescue” people from the water before the water rose any higher!
              That gesture of putting his hand on his gun was a uncalled for threat.

            • Yep. It was to convey to keep his mouth shut, do what he demanded, or be shot.

            • Xena…..I looked at the tape several times and the officer did not keep his hand on the gun….less than 2 sec maybe even more like one and even as the men got closer the hand was not on the gun.

              There is more to this story…..I wonder if alcohol was involved with both men. Why did it take so long for the men to come out of the water? Why didn’t one of them go up to the officers to let them know what they were trying to do? There is more tape, not yet released, in which one officer was on scene first and they said they even used the loudspeaker system on the vehicle to get them to respond.

              While the cops seem agitated during this short clip, how much of it was this way? Were they acting helpful/concerned in the beginning and it deteriorated as they were ignored?

              But one thing is certain……the wife in the beginning didn’t believe that her husband/pastor would ever attack an officer and it clearly shows him lunging at the officer, she now knows she didn’t know her husband as well as she thought.

            • Towerflower,
              Any touch on a gun is a sign of a threat, no matter how long the hand is on it. Law enforcement has killed people for touching their belt, saying they thought the person was going for a gun. There cannot be a double-standard in society with people touching their guns. If it’s a threat when citizens do it, it’s a threat when LE does it.

              There are many questions and just as many perceptions. Do you know why I don’t see the “lunge” by Nehemiah as anything intended for wrong? Because in churches I attend, pastors and others “lunge” in the same manner when they want to pray for or hug a person. I’ve known pastors, assistant pastors, and deacons who “lunge” when people are doing wrong, and they grab them in a hug and begin praying for them. Only Nehemiah can say why he “lunged” but he’s dead and cannot now speak for himself.

              What has been reported since the story was first released, is that someone else called the cops. Nehemiah, nor Brandon, made that call. So of course, they were not anticipating the arrival of LE. Apparently, Nehemiah and/or Brandon told the officers that they were trying to get the vehicle out of the water. That was their concern. Do people not have the right to speak and say why they are not immediately obeying LE when they are not committing a crime? Demanding that the men come out of the water without showing understanding for their concern is not proper communication.

              I don’t like the way that the officers spoke to them and “lunging” does not justify killing.

              If Nehemiah’s wife of less than a year didn’t know him, she sure won’t get the chance now because his life was taken by a man who wanted to be obeyed regardless of the situation.

            • Xena,

              It is a very common practice of LE to have their hand on their gun when approaching people, i.e. traffic stops–Gregg Benner, an officer from New Mexico who was gunned down during a routine traffic stop this past May. They don’t know what they are encountering and seconds may count in unknown situations. But in this video the trooper did not keep his hand on the gun while they approached it was for a VERY brief time. So I do not look at this as making a threatening move. I don’t view it as a double standard when police are trained to do this. Plain and simple there are bad people in this world who will do anything to keep from being arrested, including killing a LE officer. Because of this LE will assume everyone is a bad person to ensure their safety. Is there an air of racism involved with this? Absolutely and that needs to change.

              Do some cops use the “he made a threatening move” excuse to justify a shooting? Yes, this is why body cameras are so important. As an example you have the case of Lisa Mearkle of Hummelstown Police Department (Pennsyvlavnia). Mearkle is charged with killing David Kassick, 59, who was shot twice in the back in February as he lay face-down in the snow in Hummelstown, Pa Mearkle told investigators that Kassick failed to show his hands and was reaching toward his waist, where she thought he may have had a gun. When she pulled out her stun gun it activated the camera and it recorded the encounter and proved that Kassick never reached toward his waist and his hands were in view. Without that crucial video, Mearkle’s version most likely would have been believed.

              As to the lunging and certain churches…..I’m sorry but that is a stretch. In all honesty how often does that happen outside of the church environment? Do the preachers that you know just lunge at a stranger outside of the church when they see someone doing something wrong and begin praying for them? I’m sorry but if a stranger just lunged at me and started to pray because they thought I was doing wrong would be an assault.

              Something else to consider,

              This Washington Post article was able to hear/enhance the words being spoken and the one that gets me is this one: “Get him wet!” someone else yells, possibly Brandon Fischer encouraging his brother. (The troopers are seen parked on the dry road while the brothers are soaked from working in the flooded ditch.)

              They assume it was the brother who yelled this because the officers were dry while the brothers were already wet so it doesn’t make sense for one of the cops to say this. If the lunging was just part of his pastoring then getting him wet was what, a failed attempt at a baptism?

              I would like to hear the entire 30 mins of their encounter with the officers. We know from the press conference that in the beginning only one officer was present at first. We know that at some point the loudspeaker system on the police vehicle was used. I want to know was the attitude of the officers just as curt from the beginning or did it deteriorate as time went by and the brothers refused to acknowledge the officers.

              Yes, someone else called the police when they observed the brothers……here you had severe flooding in OK and TX. People die in these floods. Sometimes it takes very little water to wash a person away. What would have happened if they left them after the brothers ignored them and the brothers were then washed away and one or both of them died? Sue the police because they didn’t do enough? even though they didn’t want to “saved”?

              People do have options with cops who are rude, obnoxious, etc……do what they ask and file an official complaint about the encounter. Go to the media and make them famous so that it doesn’t get swept under the rug.

              But right now, unless something shows up in the unreleased portion of the tape, this looks like a justified shooting.

            • Towerflower,
              I appreciate your sincere response and while it approached the “see it as a cop” position, cops work with people, they work with communities, and it’s important that they see what they convey to people who are not committing a crime. Well — they don’t know if a driver is a bad guy when making a traffic stop. Okay. But if they were to stop me and I see them touching their gun, will they listen as I ask for medical attention because that move along would be enough to give me a heart attack?


              As to the lunging and certain churches…..I’m sorry but that is a stretch.

              No, it truly isn’t. I don’t know the denomination of Nehemiah’s church, or if it is non-denominational with Pentecostal leaning, but it’s a fact. There’s not only lunging, but people tend to slap others on the forehead also. It’s not a hard slap, but that is part of “imparting” and is just as common and acceptable as Catholics kneeling and standing during certain times at Mass.

              Please understand, I’m not saying why Nehemiah lunged, and he is the only person who can truly say why, if he were alive.


              If the lunging was just part of his pastoring then getting him wet was what, a failed attempt at a baptism?

              Maybe. About the shooting being justified, I will only take that into consideration if it’s found that Nehemiah went for or drew his gun.

    • After watching this video and then again on other videos and part of the presser;
      1. the cops were unbelievably obnoxious. but maybe I shouldn’t say “cops” plural. maybe I should say one of the cops, the one on the left was acting like a condescending asshole. period. the people who should be assisting them instead came and mocked them.

      WTF is patting his legs like he’s calling a puppy for? who does he think he’s talking to??? I can’t imagine a muther effer talking to me like that??!! especially a cop! I expect police to be respectful towards citizens at ALL times. even if the citizen isn’t being respectful to them! especially when the citizen isn’t a rapist, robber or murderer.

      and if he’d acted like that to me, if I were a guy (& yes i’m generalizing) like the type of guys I met when I moved to Tulsa to my aunt’s for the 10th grade, I’d probably come out of that water and wanna beat his ass myself! (which is what it looked like to me in my initial perspective while first watching the 30 second clip)
      it just looks like the guy was pissed! probably frustrated, maybe he felt like beating that punks ass who was up there on his high horse talking to him crazy.
      Further agitating him in an already emotionally stressful & physically exhausting situation.

      I imagine he & his brother were pretty overwhelmed by everything going on.
      sounds like they were trying to save their truck for quite awhile already.
      then cops come & instead of offering help they’re harassing them and speaking to them like they’re idiots.
      maybe it’s irrational, but during stressful times people don’t always think straight. and maybe he’s feeling like the one speaking to him like an idiot is now making him lose the truck that they were trying to save from this freak flood.

      so I say until I see the video of the cops life in actual danger, I say it was a fair fight between two grown men because one, the cop, decided to run his big fat mouth at the wrong time. and he should’ve been the one the STFU and handled himself like a man instead of killing a man for beating his ass…I don’t know.. just my opinion at this point.

      and the problem I know ppl will have with my perspective which is just based off that little clip, is you’re not supposed to get into a fight with a police officer because we should respect their position. we hold them to higher standards then ordinary ppl because we expect the extraordinary from them.
      but that’s a double standard if the police don’t act like professionals then they don’t deserve deference we reserve for the ones who are respectable & brave. if there are any left anyway…

  15. Fox 23 reports:

    Officials confirmed that the troopers involved were Trooper Mark Southall, has been on the force for 8 years, and Trooper Michael Taylor, who has been on the force for a year.

  16. Here’s the press conference. Seems like they only provided a portion of the video because they want the public to see the “assault.”

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      I definitely would have preferred to have seen the whole 30 minute dash cam video.

      A tweeter (one I posted above) wrote
      “They say will release entire video once they can get it dubbed for media.”

      What is dubbing?

      • I heard the chief say that they will release the entire video to the press upon request. It sounds like media will need to submit FOIA requests. I did not hear him say anything about dubbing the video first.

        • yahtzeebutterfly

          Thanks, Xena. I just watched the press conference video you posted. You are right, he said nothing about “dubbing” …just that copies had to be “processed” (timestamp 2:19).

          Each officer arrived in his own cruiser…so wouldn’t there be two sets of cam videos?

  17. * sigh * Police action is getting weirder.

  18. Videos…..something we all want the police to have, both dash and body cams. Before this tape was released the outcry was there……a pastor, a god fearing man, named after a prophet without a mean bone in his body.

    And now we have the partial video…..which clearly shows the pastor lunging at the officer which they then tumble out of sight of the camera. I’m sorry but when you attack an officer why is this a surprise?

    • Oh I’m surprised because just because someone lunges at a cop doesn’t give them the right to shoot and kill them does it? it gives them the right to lunge back at them or step back or fight back or whatever. force with force. cops aren’t robots they have to use their logic and training when dealing with people right? bcuz if they can just kill for a lunge, then when any big woman/little woman, old man, teenage kid who throws themselves at a cop in a fit of anger or grief or any reason at all, then the cop has a right to shoot them too?

      • Shannon…..the sad truth is yes, when someone attacks a cop it does give them a right to shoot.

        • no actually, police should only shoot if they feel they or another person’s in mortal danger. and in theory that works, but in reality we can’t afford to just take their word for it anymore.
          we’ve gotta weed out the cops in the biz for the power before they infect the ones who are in it for the community service.

  19. What next? Shooting because I didn’t like what you said.

    • Hey Raewyn. Yep, and because of how a person looks; how they walk; when they walk; if they can’t walk.

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