93-year-old Hearne, Texas woman, Pearlie Golden, affectionately known as Ms. Sully by her friends and neighbors, was shot during the early evening hours on Tuesday by a Hearne police officer that responded to a call reporting a woman with a gun.
A city attorney for the community of Hearne, Bryan Russ Jr, told media, that the officer, identified as Officer Stephen Stem told the elderly woman to lower her weapon at least three times after which he opened fire on her, firing three rounds and hitting the woman twice.
Golden was taken to St Josephs Hospital where staff there fought to save her. She later died and was pronounced deceased around 10 last night.
Neighbors who witnessed the incident say different and state that the officer fired approximately five times during the encounter.
The Texas Rangers will investigate the shooting and have the revolver that Golden had in her possession at the time of the incident.
Stem, the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave until the conclusion of the Ranger’s investigation. The incident will also be presented to a Grand Jury as is the standard procedure in Texas.
Russ relayed that the Hearne City Council will meet over the weekend to discuss Stem’s employment and whether any disciplinary action should be taken. “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.”
This is the second time that Stem has shot and killed a suspect since he began his employment with the Hearnes Police Department. He was involved in the shooting of a 28-year-old man shooting a shotgun from inside a vehicle near an apartment complex six months after he began his employment with the department in 2012. He was cleared in that incident.
The community is wondering what it was that caused the officer to feel threatened by the long-lived resident that was widely liked and respected in the community of 4,500.