GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4) – On Aug. 4, 2019, Realtor Dawna Hetzler fought back against a man who attacked her at an open house in Commerce City. On Friday, 44-year-old Ernest Chrisman was sentenced in Adams County Court to 16 years in prison for the attack.

Dawna Hetzler

Dawna Hetzler (credit: CBS)

Hetzler is now hoping to use her experience to help empower others to be able to protect themselves. At the Denver Police Academy this Saturday she is teaming up with a former Denver police officer-turned realtor to teach others about the training she credits with saving her life.

“My intuition knew something was off. I didn’t realize my life was going to be in danger, but I knew something was off,” Hetzler told CBS4 on Wednesday.

She was preparing a Commerce City home for an open house when a man later identified as Chrisman arrived early, asking all the right questions.

He then asked to see the upstairs. She got into the master bedroom with Chrisman and her intuition was proven right.

“He pulled up his shirt, he pulled out a 12 inch knife, told me it was a knife and that he had bear spray and to take off my ring and get in the closet,” she said.

The man then let loose the bear spray on Hetzler.

“I have found a depth in myself, a strength that I didn’t know was there,” she said.

Drawing on that strength, and her training, she fired back. Dawna had a concealed carry permit and had been training with her weapon for six years.

“Having a firearm saved my life that day, but it was also the training, because it was muscle memory, it was knowing the things that you would or wouldn’t do in a given situation, knowing your mindset, before you are ever in a that situation,” she said.

Now she hopes to help others feel empowered to protect themselves.

“If I can just get somebody to think just a little bit differently about situations, about the world that we live in, and perhaps get them feeling stronger about themselves and keep them out of situations, I will have done my job.”

Hetzler is a Realtor with Metro Brokers, and owns New Dawn Realty Inc. The course she is presenting Saturday at the Denver Police Academy is only for realtors and you must be pre-registered to attend. Click here for more information or to register: eventbrite.com/e/real-estate-agent-self-defense-class-tickets

 

Joel Hillan

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