Man fatally shot while watching fireworks in SE Houston

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Thursday, January 1, 2015
Man dies from stray bullet
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On New Year's, a man was struck and killedy by a stray bullet. His wife discusses how it happened

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A man dropped dead while standing outside his southeast Houston home with his wife watching fireworks overnight.

Police were called to the home on Eastlake Drive at Theta Street just after midnight. Officers were told someone had been shot by a stray bullet, but no one had any idea from where where it had come.

When police arrived, they found a Hispanic male, identified by family as Javier Rivera, dead in the driveway. He had been shot in the head. Family told police they weren't firing any fireworks or weapons when it happened.

Erika Rivera says her husband was standing right next to her on their driveway when he suddenly collapsed. It wasn't until she saw blood that she realized a stray bullet had struck him-instantly killing the father of 3.

"They'd come out from their home where they'd had a family gathering to see fireworks that were taking place further south of us here when she reported that her husband just fell to the ground," said Ramon Cervantes with the Houston Police Department. "She goes inside and calls for help and they find him dead here."

"My grandson, who's certified in CPR, went over and started CPR and stayed with him until the ambulance came and he never regained any kind of movement or anything," neighbor Gloria Patterson said.

Police say they will check reports and the surrounding area to see if there were any calls for service for people discharging firearms, Meanwhile, if you were in the area and heard shots being fired in the air at midnight, contact HPD.

Rivera, 43, was the kind of guy everyone wanted to be around, his family says.

Charles Cain, his brother-in-law, said, "(He was) just a nice person, just a hardworking man."

If you would like to help the Rivera family with their funeral expenses, they have set up a GoFundMe page where you can send contributions.

Family say they couldn't tell the difference between fireworks and bullets. It's a problem Houston Police have repeatedly warned the public about.

HPD's Cervantes said, "Discharging a firearam. What goes up, must come down. It has to go somewhere it has to travel somewhere."

Police say there is no telling where that stray bullet came from. The family just wants people to realize shooting guns into the air is no way to celebrate.

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