Residents of the small town of Hearne, Texas, are demanding the immediate firing of a police officer who shot and killed a 93-year-old woman.
Authorities say Officer Stephen Stem shot 93-year-old Pearlie Golden on Tuesday after responding to a call from her nephew that Golden was threatening him with a gun, KBTX-TV reports. According to the news station, Golden became upset when the nephew took away her car keys.
Neighbors in the rural town, located about 150 miles south of Dallas, told the news station that Golden, known to everyone in the predominantly black community as "Miss Sulie," was a sweet woman. In a public show of anger and dismay, residents on Thursday marched to police headquarters to demand Stem's firing.
"Even if she did have a gun, she is in her 90s. They could have shot in the air to scare her," neighbor Lawanda Cooke told the station. "Maybe she would have dropped it. I don't see her shooting anyone."
Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez, who met the protestors at the police station, told the Associated Press that he will recommend Stem's termination at a City Council meeting Saturday.
"It's a loss of confidence in the community," Gomez told AP. "We can't have an officer the citizens have lost confidence in."
Stem shot at the elderly woman five times, according to KBTX-TV. A preliminary autopsy report showed that two of the bullets entered Golden's body and that she was grazed by a third, Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert told AP Thursday.
Golden's nephew called cops after, he says, he took his aunt's car keys Tuesday because she no longer had a valid driver's license.
The news station reports that Golden grabbed a gun and threatened her nephew, and that when police arrived around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Golden was standing outside the home with the gun.
Stem was previously involved in a shooting that left a man dead only six months after Stem joined the force. However, a grand jury cleared Stem of wrongdoing in the shooting death of 28-year-old Tederalle Satchell, whom police say was shooting a gun from a car in parking lot.
Regarding the killing of Golden, the local prosecutor says the case is under investigation.
"While it is too early in the investigation to comment on any of the facts or evidence … I can say that this was a very tragic occurrence," District Attorney Coty Siegert told KBTX. "My prayers go out to the family members of Miss Golden and to the Hearne community as a whole."