The death of 93-year-old Pearlie "Miss Sully" Golden came at the hands of a police officer who'd been on the job for less than two years -- but managed to kill two people in the line of duty.
Golden died on Tuesday night after Officer Stephen Stem was called to her house, responding to a 911 call about a woman with a gun. The details are still "unclear at best," as KBTX put it, but the Hearne, Texas police department said in a statement that Golden "brandished a gun" and would not put it down when Stem ordered her to. She was shot three times (some witnesses said they heard as many as five shots) and died at a local hospital. A revolver was reportedly found at the scene.
Aside from Golden's age, one not generally associated with violence (though there are, of course, exceptions), is the fact that Stem is white and Golden was black. Also black was the man Stem killed on the job in late 2012. Tederalle Satchell, 28, was with two other men who were reported to be firing a weapon inside a car. Here, too, details are hard to come by, but it seems that the three fled the police on foot and Satchell was shot and killed. He was not armed when Stem shot him, but he was during the pursuit, according to the AP. A grand jury cleared Stem and he returned to duty.
With Golden's death, Stem is now averaging one killing a year. That's a remarkable statistic considering that Hearne is a small town of about 4,500 people (predominantly black and poor, according to recent census data) that's not exactly a hotbed of crime. In February, the police department recorded just 54 arrests, according to its Facebook page. The month before, just 59.
Stem is currently on paid leave while the shooting is investigated. In the meantime, about 125 protestors marched through the town, calling for Stem to be fired. They might just get their wish: Mayor Ruben Gomez told them he would recommend to the city council, which is meeting on Saturday to discuss the case, that Stem be fired.
"The community has lost confidence in this officer," he said, per KCEN.
From today's rally:
More than 100 people have gathered for Hearne rally. People saying event is about bringing justice to community. pic.twitter.com/xdSpFxMzDc— The Eagle (@theeagle) May 8, 2014
Community members preparing to march to Hearne Police Department to protest Pearlie Golden's death. pic.twitter.com/zfmyvg8n6I— The Eagle (@theeagle) May 8, 2014
Before her death at the hands of the Hearne police department, Golden probably had fond memories of the force; her late husband was an officer with the Hearne PD.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.