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

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Officer Stephen Stem fatally shot 93-year-old Pearlie Golden at her Texas home.

HEARNE, Texas — 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.”


  • ?

    He should have been fired last year when he killed another person. He’s been on the force two years and now two people are dead..

    • @

      What difference does that make? Some officers are on the force one day and get shot and killed…

      • ?

        And some are on the force for 30 years and never shoot anyone, and if everyone involved felt that the cop was justified, then he would not have been fired.

    • law abiding citizen

      Justified! She is old enough to know better! At the end of the day, ignorant people need to stop blaming cops every time something happens to a criminal. I don’t care if she is old. That officer gave a direct order, he deserves to go home to his family WITHOUT a bodybag. I think his Co-workers should be proud of him for not hesitating – hesitation will get ya killed

  • joe

    This country just continues down the sewer. Now Police Officers are not allowed to defend themselves when a person reaches a certain age and has a weapon. Maybe they need to tell the Officers the cut-off age so thier families will better understand why they died in the line of duty. This Officer will sue the department , get his job back with back pay, plus a little extra all becouse of political correctness.

  • stretchwithme

    Holding a gun does not warrant an execution.

    Cops seemed to have developed a war zone approach to policing.

    • joe

      Exactly when is someone suppose to drop the gun when they have a police officer pointing a gun at them telling them to drop it? after they shoot at them?

    • Mark Stabler

      The local story states that she was not just holding the gun but fired it multiple times when ordered to put it down. All of this because she failed her eye exam to renew her driver license. A relative called the police because she would not listen to him and would not put the gun down when he asked her too.

    • GJ

      BS! If she pointed the gun at him she was asking to get shot. Once that trigger is pulled it doesn’t matter how old a person is. That bullet doesn’t care how old the person is that shot the weapon. A 93 year old woman pulling the trigger is just as deadly as anyone else. Political BS from our bleeding liberal mass.

  • Anon

    “She wouldn’t drop the gun” THEN YOU WAIT, BACK OFF OR use non-lethal force or SOMETHING ELSE NOT KILLING A 93 year old person. WHAT’S THE RUSH are these trigger happy idiots not trained at all?

      • DSnipes

        And he had a duty to protect, at what age do we stop meeting force with force and what age does it begin?

        So many want to be police officers here. A gun makes her an equal threat to any police officer. Add to it she got the gum in response to her nephew not letting her have the keys to her car. She had just failed a driving test and was not renewed. She got mad, got a gun and fired it twice.

        She was as much a danger to anyone else as anyone else with a gun.

        Get a grip and stop playing Monday-morning quarterback.

      • llw

        My thing is did he follow SOP for his department? If so then he was justified doing as trained to do. Police don’t give in to suspects, old woman or a young person. However; no judgment should be made until the Rangers complete their investigation. The officer would have normally been placed on administrative duties instead of fired, that’s like finding him guilty before all the questions are answered involving this incident. Examine the facts before doling out punishments.

      • American Citizen

        The right to own firearms does not give anyone the right to point them at people unless you are protecting yourself or your family. If anyone pointed a gun at me I would take that as a very serious threat, wouldn’t you? A person’s age has nothing to do with it. Three year old kids that find guns kill people. I do agree that a less lethal tactic could have been used if the situation allowed it. If this woman, waving a gun around, was in her right mind, then she knew better but was not using her best judgement, which made her a threat to herself and anyone around her. If she was mentally unable to understand this situation, then she again, was a danger to anyone around her.

    • joe

      never decide to be a law enforcement officer anon. your family will be planning your funeral way too soon!

    • GJ

      You wait? You don’t use less than lethal weapons against someone with a lethal weapon. Boy do YOU sound like an idiot. This officer had every right to defend himself. It doesn’t matter how old she was. She had a gun and didn’t put it down. That is the ONLY thing that matters.

  • Chad

    This is a tragedy, certainly. But when will people learn – police so not “shoot into the air” or “shoot someone in the legs” or the most ridiculous “shoot them in the hand holding the gun.” Police shoot to kill. Otherwise the suspect could still be a threat and injure or kill an officer or a civilian nearby. If you have a gun and a cop says put it down, you’d best be putting it down immediately.

  • AbleToSpell

    Hi Joe, could you define “thier” & “becouse” for us? Or are making a point that heartless people cannot spell?

    Two years is not a veteran officer, it is called a “rookie”. And rookies with a kill per year, don’t get their jobs back, they also do not win law suits. They end up working at a supermarket, which is where they deserve to be.

    You are correct that some areas of our country have distinguishable problems that need resolved. Thankfully we have some critical thinkers out there that have hearts and are actively working to find solutions to the issues. You, are not one of them.

    • joe

      by your definition, officers can only defend themselves one time. and what do you have against people that work at supermarkets?

    • @

      Ironic name for someone who leaves entire words out of sentences…

      Or are making a point that heartless people cannot spell?

      You are correct that some areas of our country have distinguishable problems that need resolved.

    • GJ

      Before you start critiquing someone’s spelling maybe someone should have told you that “law suits” isn’t two words. It’s one word genius!

  • Teresa Grimes


    • DSnipes

      And she was old enough to clearly know better…ask her own nephew who the gun was targeted at.

    • Brian

      what? are you drunk? sentences have endings…they’re called periods. you probably didn’t learn that in the 3rd grad just before yo dropped out

      • GJ

        Are you drunk? Didn’t they teach you in 2nd grade that sentences start with capital letters? Dunce!

  • Donna Cruise

    If you repliers could just put yourself in the officer’s position, you might see another side of it. But you can’t, because I guess none of you have been there. I have. I have faced knives, clubs, fists, and guns. A 93 year old woman can shoot you as soon as a 15 year old. Sure its a shame she died.
    We were taught never to draw our weapon without being prepared to use it. We were not allowed warning shots or wounding shots, but only shots to kill. Think about it. It makes all the sense in the world.

    Old woman-young cop: he is automatically wrong.
    Why not play the race card while we are at it.

    • DSnipes

      Out of ignorance you type. Her own nephew stated she retrieved the gun am fired it twice, that is a fact.

      She was a threat to herself and others and obviously cognizant of her actions.

  • dobydog1

    the women had a gun and would not put it down. a 93 can shoot a cop dead just as easily as a 23 old can. part of the blame belongs to the women herself.

  • come on now

    I can’t believe what I’m reading. It seems people are upset because of her age instead of the facts. Are men and women in blue have a split second decision making process anytime the are confronted by anyone with a firearm. Not to mention if she wasn’t able to actually fire the weapon then why have it. Anybody at any age is very capable of firing a gun and the fact that she was asked to out the gun down several times after already not only getting the pistol but threatening her nephew with it prior to this. If it was any 23 year old male no one would be outraged other than loved ones.

  • llw

    If you have never worked in police work you have no idea what is right or wrong. You follow the SOP’s and make split second decisions, right, wrong or indifferent. Then let IA deal with the facts.

  • James Gilbert

    At least she did have a gun on her when he fired and killed her. If it was a person a sixth her age (15) and he was black and had a knife and he got killed with almost there entire life ahead of them, NOBODY WOULD GIVE A SHIT!

  • Raphael

    I agree with Chad. A bullet fired into the air has to come down somewhere. What happened to Ms. Golden is unfortunate and her loss is tragic. But if she had a gun, and she was threatening anyone, including the officers, the fault is at least partially hers.

  • Brian

    I never reply to the uneducated redneck silver valley trash that seems to always comment on fox 8’s page but I can not take it anymore. Let me quickly shed some light on this…..person has a job…that job is law enforcement…another person who may or may not be happy that law enforcement officer is there has a gun….that person with the gun can kill the law enforcement officer in less that a half second…that law enforcement officer really does not want to die so he or she does the only thing they can do and that is to protect their life…boom, threat eliminated. It does not matter if someone is 20 or 100, a 3 year old can pull the trigger of a gun and kill another. Please be reasonable and try to look past the budweiser that is festering in your stomachs.

    • somebody else

      Brian sounds like you must have had that experience before. Seems like just a few years back a elderly black lady in Florida was shot when SWAT kicked the door down on a no knock warrant , and shot her setting in a chair knitting and watching tv, They were looking for her grandson. The world knows they like to meet force with force. Some times it works and some times it does”nt . Some gotta live and some gotta die. Those that have the power have the control. Thats life.

  • wild man

    Police think they have a license to kill every body nows that if the general public did that we would go to jail and I have friends that are cops

  • Charles

    I would have shot also after telling someone three times to drop their gun I am going home at the end of the day

    • Gray

      She was 93. My 94 year olkd mother can’t hear, and she can’t see that well either. She also has bouts of confusion.

      If this woman didn’t have a gun, we wouldn’t be here…

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