Stephen Stem, the police officer who shot and killed a 93-year-old woman as she brandished a loaded handgun in a small Texas town was fired on Saturday, according to an official statement from the Hearne City Police Department.
Officer Stephen Stem was dismissed Saturday by the Hearne City Council, four days after long-time resident Pearlie Golden was shot at multiple times at her home about 140 miles south of Dallas.
Officer Stem was called to Golden’s home Tuesday following a 911 call from a relative. Family members refused to give Pearlie back the keys to her car after the state Department of Motor Vehicles rejected renewing her driver’s license. Pearlie Golden’s nephew, Roy Johns, told KBTX-TV that after his aunt, known as “Miss Sully,” failed her driving test, he wouldn’t allow her to use her car. Enraged, Miss Sully retrieved the.38 revolver that once belonged to her late husband.
By the time the squad car had arrived on the scene, Pearlie Golden had already fired the gun twice. Both bullets struck the ground harmlessly. Officer Stem drew his own weapon, and ordered Pearlie Golden to drop hers. She refused. Hearne City Attorney Bryan Russ Jr. said that Officer Stem told Golden to drop her weapon at least three times.
According to multiple sources, Stem then fired his own weapon four times, striking Pearlie Golden at least twice in the arm and torso. She was transported to a local hospital, where she died.
This was Stephen Stem’s second fatal shooting incident since joining the Hearne Police Department in July 2012. That December, he shot and killed Tederalle Satchell, 28, after responding to a call about people firing shots in the parking lot of an apartment complex. At the time, Officer Stem was not disciplined or charged with a crime.
After this second shooting, Officer Stephen Stem has been summarily dismissed from the Hearne Police Department. On Saturday, the city council voted unanimously, 6-0, to take disciplinary action against him, according to Jessica Vega, Hearne Police Department communications supervisor.
In a statement released to CNN affiliate KBTX on Friday, Stem’s attorney Robert McCabe said he is “fully confident that Officer Stem’s actions were immediately necessary and legally justified.” He plans to meet with Stem next week to discuss his recent termination.
“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.”
The Texas Rangers are handling the investigation into Golden’s death. Robertson County District Attorney Coty Seigert said it could take up to two months to submit Stephen Stem’s case to a grand jury.