Residents in Hearne, Texas are still reeling and angry over the May 6 officer involved shooting death of 93-year-old Pearlie Golden, affectionately known in the neighborhood as Ms. Sully, who was reportedly waving a gun around in front of her Hearne home when police were called to the scene. After ignoring demands by police to put the gun down, witnesses say that the responding officer, Stephen Stem of the Hearne Police Department, shot Golden at least five times. Golden died from those injuries a short time later at a local hospital.
New information regarding that shooting reveals that Golden had actually fired two shots from her gun into the ground before being fatally shot by Stem, according to a May 10 report from The Eagle. The 93-year-old Golden had reportedly grown upset after the local Department of Motor Vehicles refused to renew her driver’s license on the day before the shooting.
Golden’s great-nephew, Roy Jones, was with his aunt the day of the shooting and was the one to call 911 after Golden became increasingly agitated over not having her license renewed. Jones’ sister Theresa, said that on the day of the shooting, her brother and aunt got into an argument after her brother refused to give Golden the keys to her car.
At that point, Ray Jones told his sister, Golden grabbed a gun, which had belonged to her late husband.
Roy Jones told his sister that he then ran around the side of the house to call 911, hoping the aid of officials trained in defusing situations could calm her down.
Theresa Jones said that when police arrived on the scene, her brother said that Golden fired two shots into the ground and ignored Stem’s order to put the gun down. Although earlier reports stated that Stem had fired his weapon at least five times, The Eagle reported that Stem fired four times. Two of his shots hit the 93-year-old and ultimately proved fatal.
Approximately 150 mourners and protestors, including representatives from Houston’s New Black Panthers, marched on the Hearne police station on May 8 demanding that Stem be fired, according to USA Today. Mayor Ruben Gomez who was present for the demonstration at the police station, agrees that Stem should be fired and plans on making that recommendation at a city council meeting scheduled for today.
"It's a loss of confidence in the community. We can't have an officer the citizens have lost confidence in," Gomez said.
Stem was placed on administrative leave after the shooting. The Hearne Police Department, along with the Texas Rangers and the Robertson County District Attorney's Office “are investigating the case, which will eventually be presented to a grand jury.”