Half Of Hearne's City Council Voted Out

By: Jamie Burch, News Director Email
By: Jamie Burch, News Director Email

HEARNE - The same day the Hearne City Council voted unanimously to terminate the police officer who shot and killed a 93-year-old woman, half of them are voted out themselves.

Lashunda White heavily defeated Place 2 Councilman Larry Welch with 58% of the vote. The 589 votes for White to 425 votes for Welch is by far the biggest margin of victory in the council races.

Matthew Gomez, the son of Hearne’s Mayor, was beaten by challenger Hazel Embra. Embra received just 39 more votes (540-501) than Gomez. But it was enough to give her 52% of the votes and the Place 4 seat.

In a loss that is sure to sting, Councilman Steven Catalina lost to challenger Joyce Rattler by just one vote (509-508). It is unclear whether Catalina will ask for a recount.

Welch, Gomez and Catalina joined the rest of the city council Saturday afternoon for a special meeting to discuss whether to keep Officer Stephen Stem on the police force. They voted 6-0 to fire him, just five hours before the polls closed.

Mayor Ruben Gomez and City Attorney Bryan Ross both recommended termination.

Stem responded to a 911 call Tuesday from Pearlie Golden’s nephew. She was upset about not being allowed to drive after failing a driver’s license renewal test. Roy Jones says when he wouldn’t give Golden her car keys, she went into the house and grabbed a .38 revolver. Jones then ran to the side of the house and called 911.
Stem ordered Golden to put the gun down, but Golden refused. Jones said Golden fired two shots gun into the ground. At that point, Robertson County District Attorney Coty Seigert said Stem fired four shots, hitting Golden twice, once in the right arm and once in the upper chest. Seigert says they cannot confirm, nor deny, whether Golden fired her gun before she was shot and killed.

The case will not likely be presented to a Robertson County Grand Jury for a couple of months. But Stem, who was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting, is no longer a member of the force.

Stem’s attorney tells News 3 he will meet with his client next week to determine the next step.

Hearne ISD
Place 3 - James Taylor - 55% (592), Quila Polk – 45% (474)

Place 4 - Samantha Salazar - 36% (391), Mark Flowers - 35% (379), James E. Crawford - 29% (324)
* Runoff necessary between Salazar and Flowers

Place 7 - Lollie Adams - 55% (596), Mary Jane Ramirez - 45% (496)

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