Texas officials have voted to fire a police officer who shot dead an armed 93-year-old woman during a confrontation at her home.
The city council unanimously voted on Saturday that Officer Stephen Stem should be removed from the force after killing Pearlie Golden on Tuesday.
It took less than half an hour for the council to take the vote, which came after Hearne mayor Ruben Gomez told demonstrators he could recommend Stem be dismissed.
Fired: Hearne council voted to have Officer Stephen Stem dismissed after he shot dead an armed 93-year-old woman on Tuesday
Loved: Pearlie Golden, right, was a respected member of the community, who neighbors remembered fondly
Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting, which happened at Ms Golden’s small brick home behind the railroad tracks that run through this mostly poor community of 4,500 people.
Stem had been responding to a 911 call about a disturbance involving a woman and a gun, when Ms Golden allegedly fired two shots.
Her nephew, Roy Jones, said on Friday that his aunt had become upset after her application to renew a driver’s license was denied.
He said that the elderly woman armed herself and, after she fired two shots, Stem fired back at her.
Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert said Thursday that a preliminary autopsy showed Ms Golden had been shot twice in the body and was grazed by a third bullet.
Siegert said because the case is still under investigation he could neither confirm nor deny that Ms Golden fired her gun.
The shooting was the second time Stem has killed a suspect since joining Hearne police in 2012, Siegert said.
‘It’s a loss of confidence in the community. We can’t have an officer the citizens have lost confidence in,’ Gomez said.
Campaign: Protesters carry signs to the police station on Thursday as they call for Officer Stephen Stem to be fired. He was dismissed on Saturday
Stem’s attorney has said that his client’s actions were justified. Stem has not responded to a request for comment.
Hearne police said in a statement that Golden ‘brandished a gun’ when Stem arrived, but have declined to comment further.
Stem was on administrative leave while Texas Rangers investigated the shooting.
Candles left in vigil were left outside the home where Ms Golden had lived alone. Her husband had served as a police officer in the same force Stem has been fired from.
Hazel Embra, a geriatric nurse and a City Council candidate in Saturday’s local election, said she saw Ms Golden last week at the grocery store.
She described a spry, sharp woman who was known by many people as ‘Miss Sulie’ and enthusiastically greeted friends with ‘Hey, baby! How you doing?’
Authorities say a revolver believed to be the weapon Ms Golden had at the time of the shooting was found at the scene.
‘That lady should be living today. She should not have died like she did,’ Ms Embra said.
Memorial: Friends and family have been living candles outside the home of Pearlie Golden, since the 93-year-old was shot dead by a police officer outside her home on Tuesday
Home: Golden, whose home is pictured here, was well-liked in her community of Hearne, where she has lived for at least 50 years
The circumstances surrounding Stem’s first fatal shooting on the job in Hearne were far different.
Stiegert said several officers had responded to a call of shots fired and wound up chasing three men who fled on foot.
The one who died wasn’t armed when shot by Stem, Stiegert said, but had been during the pursuit. He said officers can be distinctly heard on tape yelling to put the gun down before shots were fired.