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.”


  • manalishi

    Are you s**ting me? For the sake of humanity,,,,Some POS’s felt the need to vote on it??!!

    • buzz

      Unfrutunatlyin some small towns the town council hires and fires the local police. Thats the way it is. It was the right thing to do to at least fire this p o s cop

  • AJ

    She had already fired two shots… and, really poloce.fire in the air. No. This is what is causing law officers to hang it up and communities to devolve into the wild west gangdoms like Chicago, and Philly. Because of stupid knee her reactions like this. It IS a tragedy that the officer was forced by the woman’s own actions to return fire. It’s stupid to throw your public safety under the bus ,though.

    • Joe Johnson

      The article does not state that the Golden woman had fired the gun. Where did your information come from?

      • buzz

        you are crect. she was asked to put the gun down wce.Peole shullean to rea ad I aolagize about splling the bov coment.

    • krista

      Members of the public advocating for officers to shoot into the air? Then we could have the same kind of tragedy we had last July fourth with the child killed in Brandermill. I’m sure that had the officer done so and someone died, he still would have been fired. Had the elderly lady started shooting and innocent bystanders were hit and the officer did nothing due to her age, he would be fired for failing to act.

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