Father Charged in Daughter's Shooting Death

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By Aaron Hepker

ANKENY, Iowa — An Ankeny man was charged in connection with the shooting death of his 18-year-old daughter Friday.

Police said Scott Hazelbaker, 51, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony assault by intentionally pointing a weapon at his daughter, Emily Hazelbaker.

Authorities said early reports indicate that Hazelbaker did not know the gun was loaded when he aimed it at his daughter and pulled the trigger.

Police were called to the apartment the two shared at the Delaware Crossing Apartments and Townhomes at 903 S.E. Delaware Ave. at about 5:35 p.m. Friday on a report of someone being shot. Officers said they found the victim inside with a single gunshot would, and a weapon was found at the scene.

Ankeny Police Chief Gary Mikulec said three people were inside an apartment when one of the men picked up a handgun and it discharged.

"We came to this address and found a deceased female -- an adult female -- we believe to be 19 years of age," Mikulec said.

Friends said Emily graduated from Southeast Polk High School in 2012 and was enrolled in Des Moines Area Community College's dental hygiene program.

Police believe the shooting was accidental and Emily’s friends who worked with her at an Altoona Dairy Queen said they don’t believe Scott Hazelbaker would ever have intentionally harmed his daughter.

"Her mom passed away when she was young, so I mean, he was basically her everything because they were together all the time and they were just best friends," said friend Paige Brown.

Friends said Emily and her boyfriend had just moved in with her father earlier this spring and were saving money to move into their own apartment.

Neighbor Becky Neisen said she remembered the police pulling up.

"I saw the lights flashing through the window and I looked out the window and a cop ran up with his gun out," Neisen said. "So I knew something serious was going on."

Authorities said two men who were also in the apartment were in custody.

"One of the people we have in custody admitted squeezing the trigger," Mikulec said. "It was a handgun, squeezing the trigger--and we're trying to find out right now if it's accidental. We haven't started that process in the interview, but we're trying to determine if it's accidental or something else."

Police said one of the men in custody called 911. No one heard the gunshot, detectives said, because of severe thunderstorms in the area.

On Saturday, Scott Hazelbaker posted bond and has been released from the Polk County Jail.

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