HEARNE, Texas (AP) — The nephew of a 93-year-old Central Texas woman shot and killed by a police officer says his aunt fired two shots before the officer shot her.
Roy Jones told KBTX-TV of Bryan and College Station for a story aired Friday that he had taken his aunt Pearlie Golden to renew her driver’s license Tuesday, but she was denied after failing her test.
As Jones took his aunt back to her Hearne home, he could tell she was upset by the denial, he said.
Back at her house, Jones said he was sitting with his aunt on her front porch when Golden demanded her keys back. He refused, so Golden went into the house and got her .38-caliber handgun. Jones dashed into the house and called police, he told the station.
Hearne police have said in a statement that Golden “brandished a gun” when officer Stephen Stem arrived Tuesday night. A preliminary autopsy shows Golden was shot twice in the body and grazed by a third bullet, Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert has said.
Hearne police have declined to comment beyond the statement issued this week. Stem has been placed on administrative leave, and The Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting.
Siegert told the station that because the case is still under investigation, he could neither confirm nor deny that Golden fired her gun.
About 110 miles northwest of Houston, Hearne is home to about 4,500 people and is surrounded by cotton farms and railways. Friends say Golden still shopped at the grocery store and greeted friends with a jubilant “Hey, baby!”
Dozens of protesters, including some who came in from Houston, marched to police headquarters on Thursday and were met there by Mayor Ruben Gomez, who said he will recommend that Stem be fired during Saturday’s City Council meeting.
“It’s a loss of confidence in the community. We can’t have an officer the citizens have lost confidence in,” Gomez said.
However, Stem’s attorney, Robert McCabe, told the station that he believes his client’s actions were justified under the circumstances and called the mayor’s comments inappropriate and unprofessional.
“He probably knows less facts about what occurred than I do,” McCabe said.