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Texas police officer defends fatally shooting 93-year-old woman

(CNN) — A police officer who fatally shot a 93-year-old woman at her home in Texas is defending his use of deadly force and lashing out at the City Council that fired him.

Get more of our coverage of this shooting – click here.

Stephen Stem was dismissed from the Hearne Police Department on Saturday. He argues his termination was unjust.

“The knee-jerk reaction to terminate Mr. Stem was not about whether Ms. Golden chose to create and perpetuate a life-threatening situation. That is a clear and indisputable fact.

“Rather, the city’s decision was about appeasing certain members of the community who want to make this case about Ms. Golden’s age, the fact she is African-American, or the fact she is a woman.

“None of those factors played a role in Stem’s decision to use deadly force,” Robert McCabe, Stem’s attorney, said in a statement Sunday.

His comments come as Texas Rangers continue an investigation into why Pearlie Golden, a longtime resident in this small town of about 4,600 people between Dallas and Houston, 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 hospital, where she died.

“Police not only have a duty to protect themselves from imminent harm, but also innocent citizens who rely on them ‘to protect and serve,’ ” Stem’s attorney said in his statement.

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

“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.”

10 comments

  • Missi

    I understand why he shot but did he really need to shoot her 3 times? No. That’s why it was considered excessive force and this isn’t the first time he’s acted with excessive force and that’s why he was fired. Basically this guy is a duche and should have been fired the first time.

    • antiignorant

      It is unfortunate that folks such as yourself make the ignorant, reckless comments that you do. Police officers are not trained to wound, nor kill, The are trained to stop a threat. Neither of us was present. Based upon the story presented through the media folks can form opinions that may or may not support the facts. It is always best to wait for the outcome of the investigation; then you can let your bias’ out in another ignorant and reckless tirade…or you can review the facts ie reports, investigative material and allow the facts to support your opinion. Look at each case on its own meritt; then you may not be so inclined to speak in the manner you did.

  • Melissa Davis

    It seems the police never want to hear what you have to say, but when it’s one of their butts on the line they want to explain their behavior and want us to accept it…I say lock him up and throw away the key.

    • antiignorant

      My guess Ms. Davis is that requesting information from the person holding and firing a gun may not be the most prudent for the officer…please think before you speak such ignorant and reckless words.

  • John Chadderton

    What danger could a 93 yr old lady cause by “brandishing a handgun”? Most 93 yr old people are either totally blind or so vision impaired that they can’t see 2 feet in front of them! Besides that they wouldn’t have the strength to pull the trigger on a handgun! This officer should have been fired and should go to jail for murder! What a waste of oxygen this guy is!

  • Jeremy

    Are you guys serious? He was doing his JOB. The woman may have been elderly but she WAS brandishing a weapon, was NOT obeying orders to put the weapon down, and DID fire two shots from the weapon resulting in the officer firing at her. He was doing what he is TRAINED to do and had this woman ended up hurting or killing someone you would ALL be pitchin a different opinion. This man should not have been fired for doing HIS JOB. The city council fails for breaking under pressure. Age does NOT mean you can do whatever you want and get away with it.

  • s

    She probably didn’t put down the firearm because she didn’t hear him say to since she was 93 YEARS OLD!!!

  • Jeremy

    Your problem is looking at it from an age perspective bud. Being elderly doesn’t mean disabled. My grandmother is going to be 84 years old and she can still climb over a wooden fence. There is a lot of older people that would be quite offended at you assuming they can’t do something knowingly just because they are old. Re-read the story without ANY preconceptions. This officer did his job. What if when she started pulling the trigger somebody in a neighboring house was hit and killed accidentally? Had he not fired on her and she ended up accidentally killing someone like a child in a nearby house would you then be calling for his head because he did nothing??? She brandished a fire arm, she KNOWINGLY pulled the trigger at least twice. She got justifiably put down as she should have. Yes it is a tragedy but SHE chose the outcome of that situation not the officer. Making excuses for people is what is wrong with society these days. People like you are the reason for that.

  • katie

    The lady should of never shot regardless at the ground or not and age shouldn’t matter this wouldn’t be a big deal if this would have been a 20 years old girl people know rite from wrong and shooting in a officers presents is not the smartest thing I would have done the same thing in this officers situation

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