Pearlie Golden, a 93-year-old woman who was allegedly armed and waving a gun outside her home in Hearne, Texas, was shot and killed by a police officer in Hearne in the twilight hours of May 6 after she wouldn’t put the gun down. Golden, known to her neighbors as Ms. Sully, was pronounced dead at nearby St. Joseph Hospital around 10 p.m. last night.
According to KHOU, the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office released a statement yesterday saying that police were called to Golden’s neighborhood after receiving a 911 call “about a lady waving a gun around outside a home on Pin Oaks Street.” Arriving on the scene to respond to that call was Officer Stephen Stem of the Hearne Police Department, who, according to the statement, “asked Pearlie Golden to put down the weapon and then ultimately fired his own sidearm, wounding Miss Golden.” Witnesses on the scene say that Golden was shot at least five times.
Stem has been with the Hearne Police since July, 2012. Following the shooting, he was placed on paid administrative leave. 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.”
“While it is too early in the investigation to comment on any of the facts or evidence stated above, I can say that this was a very tragic occurrence,” said District Attorney Coty Siegert.
“My prayers go out to the family members of Miss Golden and to the Hearne Community as a whole.”
After speaking to Golden’s neighbors, KBTX reported residents from her neighborhood as wondering why the elderly woman had to die in the first place. Those that knew her from the neighborhood described Golden as being a sweet lady. One neighbor, Lawanda Cooke, said “Even if she did have a gun, she is in her 90’s.”
“They could have shot in the air to scare her. Maybe she would have dropped it. I don’t see her shooting anyone.
As it turns out, this is the second instance where the police officer that shot and killed Golden has been involved in a deadly shooting. Less than six months after joining the Hearne Police Department in 2012, Stem shot and killed a man shooting a gun from a car in an apartment complex. Stem was cleared by a grand jury of any wrong doing in that shooting.
Neighbors and friends will be holding a candlelight vigil for Golden tonight at 7 p.m. in front of her home. For more on the story, see the video accompanying this article.