News Column

Texas Police Shoot, Kill 93-year-old Woman

May 8, 2014

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93-year-old Pearlie Golden, known to neighbors in her small rural town of Hearne, Texas as Miss Sully, was fatally shot by police at her home Tuesday.

"What I understand is (Hearne police) were called out because a woman was brandishing a firearm," said Coty Siegert, Robertson County District Attorney.

According to reports, officers responded to a 911 call to find Golden waving around a revolver.

Officer Stephen Stem told Golden to drop her weapon at least three times said Hearne City Attorney Bryan Russ Jr.

When Golden wouldn't drop the weapon, Stem opened fire with his own, shooting the nonagenarian at least twice.

Conflicting reports say he fired between 3 - 5 shots, but regardless of the amount of rounds discharged, the two that struck were enough. Golden was transported to a nearby hospital, but died shortly after.

"Even if she did have a gun, she is in her 90s," community member Lawanda Cooke told a local CNN affiliate. "They could have shot in the air to scare her. Maybe she would have dropped it. I don't see her shooting anyone."

"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."

The case is now being investigated by the Rangers and will eventually be presented to a grand jury. The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave with pay until the Hearne City Council can meet Saturday to decide on Stem's employment and whether he will be disciplined further.

"I would expect people to be upset about this, a young police officer shooting a 93-year-old lady," said Russ. "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."

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Original headline: Texas Police fatally shoot 93-year-old woman at her home



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