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8-Year-Old Awarded for Saving Father's Life

Placer County authorities gave a medal to a third-grader whose focus and quick-thinking may have helped save her father's life.

Posted: Feb 12, 2019 4:10 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2019 4:15 PM

PLACER COUNTY, Calif. - Placer County authorities gave a medal to a third-grader whose focus and quick-thinking may have helped save her father's life.

On Monday morning, Placer County Sheriff Devon Bell presented Isabell Pierce with a Medal of Merit, an award that only five other people have ever received in the history of the county. 

"Isabell absolutely remained calm and composed during the entire incident," Bell said. "She said she needed to focus to keep her dad alive."

On Jan. 15, Isabell and her dad, Brian, were driving down Rock Springs Road in Newcastle when someone shot the driver's side window, the bullet hitting Brian's chest. 

"Brian grabbed his sweatband and placed it over the wound his chest," Bell said. "Isabell quickly used her hands to hold that into place over Brian's wound. Brian drove to a fire station in Loomis where he received medical aid. Isabell was able to keep pressure on the wound the entire drive."

Investigators say that the person who shot Brian is Stanley Stepanski, 48, of Montana. Moments before he shot the car they were driving in, he shot and killed an elderly woman in her Newcastle home. 

Stepanski also shot at businesses, homes and other vehicles before he was killed in a shoot-off with a Roseville police officer. 

Weeks later, Brian is recovering from his gunshot wound and celebrating his daughter's bravery. 

"I can't imagine an 8-year-old having the composure to know to apply direct pressure onto a wound so that she can take care of her dad so he could get to the fire station and get advanced medical care," Bell said. "[It's] just amazing."

Isabell, who is one of six siblings, is getting some new-found recognition. 

"Usually my teachers are like - 'you're Emily's little sister, right?' But now to Emily- they're like, 'you're Isabell's older sister right?'" Isabell said. "Now they actually know who I am I guess."

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