A bullet struck Horicio Rivera Jr. on the top of his scalp, Detective Sgt. George Sauceman with the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department said Monday morning.
“I know he’s lucky to be alive, according to the doctor,” Sauceman said.
Rivera, who is in his 20s, was in a regular room at the Knoxville hospital this morning, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
The alleged shooter, 39-year-old Michael Aaron Harvey, was taken into custody at his Hale Street residence a short time after the shooting. Hamblen County deputies and members of the Morristown Police Department recovered a six-shot .22-caliber revolver. Five bullets had been fired, according to Sauceman
Harvey, who has numerous convictions for burglary and theft, declined to speak with law enforcement officials, the detective says. Sauceman charged Harvey with attempted first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during a dangerous felony. His bond was set at $500,000.
Both Rivera and Rivera’s girlfriend, who lives close to Harvey, identified the defendant as the person who fired the shots. What’s not clear, Sauceman said Monday morning, is a possible motive.
“We’re still trying to figure that out,” the detective said. “They know of him, but according to them, they didn’t run with him or hang out with him.”
The aggravated assault charges involve Rivera’s girlfriend, his mother and his toddler. All four were walking to their vehicle, preparing to go to the grocery store when she shot’s rang out around 4 p.m., according to Sauceman.
Rivera, who reportedly never lost consciousness, was bleeding profusely from the head wound.
“They didn’t know if they had time to wait for an ambulance,” Sauceman said. “His girlfriend threw him into the car and drove him to the hospital.”
Rivera was airlifted from Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System to the Knoxville hospital.
Sauceman says the Heritage .22-caliber revolver, along with spare ammunition, was lying in plain view in Harvey’s Toyota Camry when law enforcement officials arrived. Authorities conducted a gunshot-residue test on Harvey. The swab will be sent to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab.