A Hearne, Texas police officer who shot and killed a 93-year-old woman in a Black enclave in central Texas on May 6 has a history of administrative scrutiny for the use of deadly force, according to news reports.
Officer Stephen Stem is on paid administrative leave after slaying Pearlie Golden, a longtime resident of Hearne who was affectionately known to her neighbors as Ms. Sully.
Stem was responding to a 911 call about a disturbance involving a woman with a gun, when he encountered Golden, who “brandished a firearm,” the Hearne Police Department said in a written statement. That’s when Stem shot her multiple times.
A revolver believed to be the weapon Golden had at the time of the shooting was found at the scene by officers, the statement said. She was taken to St. Joseph Hospital in nearby Bryan where she died from the injuries.
The investigation is being handled by the Texas Rangers.
City attorney Bryan Russ Jr. said the officer seemed to have followed protocol. “What we believe is that she was instructed to drop the weapon, that is my understanding,” Russ said.
But Stem has been in this position before. In January 2013 he was placed on administrative leave while the Rangers investigated his use of deadly force in December 2012 against 28-year-old Hearne resident Tederalle Satchell, who relatives said had a history of mental illness, according to The Eagle newspaper.
Stem was cleared by a grand jury in May 2013 and returned to active duty, according to the Robertson County News.
Hearne is a town of about 4,500 people located roughly 140 miles south of Dallas.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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