Texas officer who fatally shot 93-year-old woman is fired

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(CNN) — The police officer who fatally shot a 93-year-old woman at her home in Texas has been fired after a city council vote Saturday.

Officer Stephen Stem was dismissed from the Hearne Police Department on Saturday after the city council voted 6-0 to take disciplinary action against him, said Jessica Vega, Hearne Police Department communications supervisor.

Stem was advised by his attorney not to attend the council meeting, according to CNN affiliate KBTX.

In the meantime, Texas Rangers continue the investigation into why Pearlie Golden, a longtime resident in this small town of about 4,600 people, was shot multiple times at her home Tuesday.

A man believed to be a relative of Golden’s made a 911 call asking for help from police, Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert said.

“What I understand is (Hearne police) were called out because a woman was brandishing a firearm,” Siegert said.

“An officer asked her to put the handgun down, and when she would not, shots were fired.”

Hearne City Attorney Bryan Russ Jr. said Stem told Golden to drop her weapon at least three times.

Stem fired three times, and Golden was hit at least twice, he said.

She was transported to a local hospital, where she died.

The Hearne Police Department placed Stem on administrative leave pending the inquiry.

“We’re very saddened by this. Everybody in the city government is deeply disappointed that this lady was killed,” Russ said. “Now, the investigation is out of our hands. It’s under the Texas Rangers, which is where we want it to be.”

According to police, the Texas Rangers have a revolver believed to have been in Golden’s possession at the time of the shooting.

Community members told CNN affiliate KBTX that Golden, known affectionately as “Ms. Sully,” was a sweet woman.

“Even if she did have a gun, she is in her 90s,” Lawanda Cooke told KBTX. “They could have shot in the air to scare her. Maybe she would have dropped it. I don’t see her shooting anyone.”

In a statement released to CNN affiliate KBTX on Friday, Stem’s attorney Robert McCabe said he is “fully confident that Officer Stem’s actions were immediately necessary and legally justified” and plans to meet with Stem next week to discuss his job termination.

The case will eventually be presented to a grand jury, which is standard procedure when dealing with officer-involved incidents, Russ said.

“I would expect people to be upset about this, a young police officer shooting a 93-year-old lady,” Russ said. “I’m upset about it. Most of our citizens are upset, but at the same time I don’t believe all the facts have come to the surface yet.”

4 comments

  • Chuck mcClurg

    Did the police report say the 93 Yr. old pointed the weapon at the officer ? No.
    Did the report say she threatened the officer in any way ? No.
    Another over the top COP that thinks it’s ok to just kill someone.

    A stupid move.

  • Bryan

    Is it not reasonable for an officer to believe a person who will not comply with a “Drop your weapon” command just might use said weapon against him/her? Just because she is elderly does not mean she can’t shoot a gun.

  • Chuck mcClurg

    Correct Bryan, Someone can point a weapon and fire it very quickly. My point is….Until that officer (s) sees a suspect begin to raise a weapon and point it
    at them how is their life threatened?

    A 93 yr. old women would have very slow movements !

    This story did not say she pointed that gun at the officer. let’s face it, why was he fired ?? because he made a quick decision to shoot and it was not
    justified. have you ever seen a police office fire at a suspect that was running
    away? I have. have you ever seen an officer shot due to a mistake he made/
    I have.

    I have the highest respect for our officers but there are times when they
    choose to shoot because they know they can and walk away from the incident clean.

    Until I see where the police report says the suspect pointed the weapon at
    the officer this lady should still be alive.

    What would you have done ? that’s an honest question.

  • Sherry

    I work with the elderly every day, they can move a lot faster than you may think and sometimes have super human strength!

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