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Mayor Seeks to Fire Officer Who Shot 93-Year-Old Texas Woman

Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez

Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez

The mayor of Hearne, Texas, the town where 93-year-old Pearlie Golden was gunned down by a police officer on Tuesday night, said yesterday that he will ask the City Council to fire the shooter, Officer Steven Stem.

The comments by Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez came after dozens of angry residents in the small town—it has a population of 4,500—marched to police headquarters demanding answers.

“It’s a loss of confidence in the community. We can’t have an officer the citizens have lost confidence in,” the longtime mayor said, according to the Associated Press.

Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert said Golden, an African-American woman, was gunned down Tuesday night by Stem, who is white. He was responding to a 911 call about a disturbance involving a woman with a gun.  When he arrived Golden “brandished a firearm,” according to the written report by the Hearne Police Department.

In response, Stem shot her multiple times.

Officers found a revolver believed to be her weapon at the scene. Golden was taken to a hospital in nearby Bryan, where she died from the injuries.

“She did have a gun. … Now, what she was doing with it, that is the ultimate question,” Siegert told the Associated Press.

“There’s no justification. Any police officer would know not to kill a 93-year-old fragile woman when they could have backed off,” William Foster, 64, a retired professor in Hearne who participated in the protest, told the AP. “She was no threat to him.”

Golden’s small brick home sits behind the railroad tracks that run through the mostly poor community of Hearne, according to the AP.

Siegert said yesterday that a preliminary autopsy shows Golden was shot twice in the body and grazed by a third bullet. He said this is the second time Stem has shot and killed a suspect since joining Hearne police in 2012.

The circumstances surrounding Stem’s first deadly shooting on the job were far different, Siegert  said. In that case, when several officers responded to a call of shots fired, they wound up chasing three men who fled on foot. The man who died wasn’t armed when shot by Stem, Stiegert said, but he allegedly had been armed at one point during the pursuit. Stiegert added that officers can be distinctly heard on tape yelling to put the gun down before shots were fired.

Friends said the 93-year-old woman lived alone and ironically, her husband had been a Hearne police officer himself.

Hazel Embra, a geriatric nurse and a City Council candidate in Saturday’s local election, told the AP she saw Golden last week at the grocery store. She said Golden was a spry, sharp woman known as “Miss Sulie,” who customarily greeted friends with an enthusiastic “Hey, baby! How you doing?”

Officers found a revolver believed to be Golden’s weapon at the scene.

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

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