HEARNE, Texas – Texas Rangers are investigating why police in a small central Texas town fatally shot a 93-year-old woman at her home.
Pearlie Golden, a longtime resident of Hearne, a town of approximately 4,600 people situated about 150 miles south of Dallas, was shot multiple times Tuesday.
“What I understand is (Hearne police) were called out because a woman was brandishing a firearm,” Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert said.
“An officer asked her to put the handgun down and when she would not, shots were fired.”
Hearne City Attorney Bryan Russ Jr. said Officer Stephen Stem told Golden to drop her weapon at least three times.
Stem fired three times, and Golden was hit at least twice, he said.
She was transported to a local hospital, where she died.
The Hearne Police Department placed Stem on administrative leave pending the inquiry.
“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.”
According to police, the Texas Rangers have a revolver believed to have been in Golden’s possession at the time of the shooting.
Community members told CNN affiliate KBTX that Golden, known affectionately as “Ms. Sully,” was a sweet woman.
“Even if she did have a gun, she is in her 90s,” Lawanda Cooke told KBTX. “They could have shot in the air to scare her. Maybe she would have dropped it. I don’t see her shooting anyone.”
The case will eventually be presented to a grand jury, which is standard procedure when dealing with officer-involved incidents, Russ said.
In the meantime, Hearne City Council members will meet Saturday to discuss Stem’s employment or whether any disciplinary action will be taken.
“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.”