HEARNE, Texas (KCEN) – An elderly woman is dead and the city of Hearne is reeling after a police officer shot and killed a 93-year-old woman.
Neighbors now wonder what could have happened that caused the well-known woman to be gunned down last night outside her home.
“She was a nice elderly lady,” said Andrew Washington, who lives just a few houses down from where the shooting happened. “She didn’t bother nobody.”
Washington has lived in Hearne for 25 years; 93-year-old Pearlie Golden was part of his wedding.
Now the elderly woman is gone, shot and killed by a Hearne police officer.
“I don’t know why did it get to the point to where he felt that he had to come over here and do that type of policing,” said Washington.
It happened Tuesday evening around 6:30. Cops were called to Golden’s home for a disturbance.
When they got there, they say golden “brandished a firearm.” Officer Stephen Stem fired at least three shots.
Golden later died at a hospital in Bryan.
“Maybe the answers will come later,” said Charles Toliver, who’s known Golden all his life. “I don’t know, but right now, I can’t believe it. I really can’t.”
That’s the feeling all over town. Everyone we talked to is in shock that this could have happened at all.
“I used to pass by here with a smile on my face every day, and I used to come over there and feed her dogs for her every day,” said one Hearne resident, who said he also used to mow Golden’s lawn.
Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert says his office has never had any run-ins with her in the past, but added officers did find a gun they believe she had at the time of the shooting.
That revolver has been given to the Texas Rangers as part of the investigation.
There was still some evidence of what happened at Golden’s home on Wednesday, a little bit of discarded police tape on the ground, for instance. But for the most part we didn’t see investigators going in or out of her house during the day.
The Texas Rangers have picked up the investigation.
It’s an investigation neighbors hope will answer questions as to how it all went down.
“That’s uncalled for,” one woman said. “That’s very much uncalled for.”
“I hope that young man can sleep with himself with what he caused,” Washington said.
Officer Stem has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues.
“We having problems trying to understand it,” Toliver said. “It’s going to be hard on the community, hard on her family.”
In less than three years on the force, it’s the second time Stem has shot and killed a suspect.
The first one was back in December 2012, when he shot and killed a 28-year-old. Stem was cleared of any wrongdoing in that shooting just a few months later, in May 2013.
At the time the mayor told the local paper the city was “glad that the Grand Jury and the DA’s office saw fit to release him back to caring for our city.”
“We will cooperate with the Texas Rangers’ investigation, help out where we can, and it will be presented to the grand jury,” Siegert said of Tuesday’s shooting.
The city council will hold an executive session Saturday to determine what to do about Stem’s employment at the PD.
Whatever they decide, residents here just want answers.
“Not her, you know,” Toliver said. “Out of all the people in the town, not her,” a woman who’s lived in Hearne longer than most people can recall.