Texas town shaken after cop shoots armed 93-year-old

A 93-year-old woman who was fatally shot by a police officer in her central Texas home was apparently upset that her nephew was trying to take away her car keys after the Texas Department of Public Safety had refused to renew her driver's license.

The mayor of Hearne, Texas, says he will recommend that the officer involved be fired.

Pearlie Golden, 93, was killed by Hearne police officer Stephen Stem on Tuesday evening at her home after officers had been summoned there by a 911 call. Hearne police have said in a statement that Golden "brandished a firearm."

Friends say Golden -- widely known as "Miss Sulie" -- still shopped at the grocery store and greeted friends with a jubilant "Hey, baby!"

Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert said a preliminary autopsy shows Golden was shot twice in the body and grazed by a third bullet. It's the second time Stem has shot and killed a suspect since joining the department in 2012, Siegert said.

Siegert declined to discuss the specifics of the case, but did call it "a very tragic occurrence," KBTX-TV reports.

The fatal shooting has angered many in the community of 4,500 people, prompting a march on Thursday by about 100 people, including some a small contingent of the New Black Panther party from Houston.

William Foster III, a longtime Hearne resident and organizer of the protest, told demonstrators before the march that "we can't just keep sitting around accepting what's going on with this town. It's time for a change," The Eagle newspaper reports.

"It's not racial, it's about right, simply about right," he said.

Hazel Embra, a geriatric nurse and a City Council candidate in Saturday's local election, said she ran into Golden last week at the grocery store.

"That lady should be living today. She should not have died like she did," Embra said.

Stem has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation and a hearing by a grand jury.

Mayor Ruben Gomez told the demonstrators Thursday that will recommend to an emergency council meeting on Saturday that Stem be fired. "It's a loss of confidence in the community. We can't have an officer the citizens have lost confidence in," Gomez said.

Golden's nephew was the person who had called 911 to report a woman waving a gun outside a house in this small, central Texas town of 4,500 people, KBTX-TV reports.

The TV station says Golden was apparently agitated that the Texas DPS had refused to renew her driver's license a few days earlier. When the nephew tried to take away her keys, Golden got upset, grabbed her gun and threatened him.

When Stem and another officer arrived, he asked the elderly woman to put down her weapon. When she refused, and allegedly continued to wave the gun, he shot her.

Less than two years ago, Stem was also involved in another fatal shooting not long after joining the Hearne police department. In that incident, he shot and killed a man that police say was shooting a gun from a car in an apartment parking not. Stem was later cleared of any wrong doing.

Hearne, which is located in the center of the "Texas Triangle" cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, is surrounded by cotton farms and railways, one of which backs up to Golden's brick home.

Candles left in vigil remained outside her home two days after the shooting. Foster and others said she lived alone and that her husband had been a Hearne police officer himself.

Contributing: Associated Press


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