A 43-year-old Texas man is dead after he was struck by an apparent stray bullet while watching fireworks in the driveway of his southeast Houston home in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.
Family members told KHOU News that Javier Rivera was standing next to his wife, Erica Rivera, when he suddenly fell to the ground just after midnight.
His wife says she never heard a gunshot.
“I never could have imagined this would happen,” Erica Rivera said. “He was standing right next to me and he fell.”
Her niece, Yarelo Carcamo, told KPRC News the woman came running back into the house and told family members to dial 911.
Gloria Patterson, a neighbor, was outside and saw Rivera go down.
“So my grandson, who is certified to CPR, went over and started CPR and stayed with him until the ambulance came. And he never regained any movement or anything,” Patterson explained.
Rivera was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators believe Rivera was likely killed by a bullet fired into the air during New Year’s celebrations. The medical examiner’s office has not yet confirmed that.
Houston Police Department Spokesman Victor Senties called the incident “tragic.”
“It's very dangerous to go outside and discharge a firearm in the air,” Senties told the Houston Chronicle. “What goes up must come down and usually does so with greater force.”
Firing a gun at random is considered deadly conduct under Texas law. Violators of the law can be charged with a felony or misdemeanor. A felony conviction carries with it a two-year minimum and 10-year maximum sentence.
No arrests have been made in the case.
Senties said investigators are still looking into the incident, though none of Rivera’s family members or neighbors said they saw anyone firing a weapon in the area.
Investigators say anyone with information about gunfire in the neighborhood that night should contact the Houston Police Department.
Rivera had three children.
Photo Credit: Family Photo via KHOU News, Wikimedia Commons