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.”