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Lawyer of fired Texas cop who shot 93-year-old woman fires back

By Marcus Hondro     May 13, 2014 in Crime
Officer Stephen Stem shot and killed an armed 93-year-old woman in Hearne, Texas last Tuesday, and days later the city's council voted to fire him. Now Mr. Stem's lawyer has weighed in, noting the circumstances of the shooting weren't taken into account.
"The knee-jerk reaction to terminate Mr. Stem was not about whether Ms. Golden chose to create and perpetuate a life-threatening situation. That is a clear and indisputable fact," Mr. Stem's lawyer, Robert McCabe, said this week. "Rather, the city's decision was about appeasing certain members of the community who want to make this case about Ms. Golden's age, the fact she is African-American, or the fact she is a woman. None of those factors played a role in Stem's decision to use deadly force."
Police were called to the home of Pearlie Golden by her nephew, who told police dispatch his Aunt had a handgun and he was afraid she might use it. The late-Ms. Golden was upset that she had recently been denied a driver's licence renewal; it appears she had become angry when her nephew took her car keys away.
Details are not fully clear, but witness accounts appear to say that the elderly woman had fired two shots while Mr. Stem was there, both into the ground. The fired officer told her three times to drop the gun, witnesses say, before firing at least three times, hitting her twice. It's unclear if she had fired her gun immediately before he shot her, or earlier.
A gathering was held calling for the officer's dismissal the day after the shooting. Some 100 people attended, most of them African-American. The Houston Chronicle reported that the protestors pointed out that it was Stem's second shooting while on the job; in December of 2012 he shot and killed a man who was firing a gun out of a car window. In that shooting, Mr. Stem was cleared of any wrongdoing by a grand jury.
The killing of Ms. Golden is being investigated by the Texas Rangers and it, too, may wind up before a grand jury.
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