AUBURN, Calif. – A California third-grader was honored Monday after officials say her bravery and focus may have saved her father’s life.
Placer County Sheriff Devon Bell presented Isabell Pierce with a "medal of merit" for doing something most third graders very likely have never done.
"Isabell absolutely remained calm and composed during the entire incident,” Bell said. “She said she needed to focus to keep her dad alive."
On January 15, Isabell was riding in the car with her dad, Brian Pierce.
They were driving down Rock Springs Road in the quiet community of Newcastle when suddenly they heard a loud sound. Not only did someone shoot the drivers' side window, but that bullet also hit Isabell's dad in the chest.
And what she did next, Bell said, saved her dad's life.
"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 the man who shot Brian Pierce was Stanley Stepanski, a 48-year old Montana resident who, moments before, had 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 gun battle with a Roseville police officer.
Weeks later, Brian Pierce 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. “Just amazing."
As for Isabell -- who is one of six siblings -- she said she's getting some newfound recognition.
"Usually my teachers are like, ‘You're Emily's little sister right?’ But now, they're like, ‘You're Isabell's older sister right?’ Now they actually know who I am I guess."