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Michigan man charged after shooting 84-year-old anti-abortion canvasser

Craig Mauger, The Detroit News on

Published in Political News

DETROIT — Richard Harvey, who shot an 84-year-old anti-abortion canvasser outside his Ionia County home after she was involved in a heated exchange with his wife, turned himself in to law enforcement Friday after a three-count warrant was issued against him.

After an investigation by the Michigan State Police, Ionia County Prosecutor Kyle Butler charged Harvey, 74, of the Lake Odessa area with assault with a dangerous weapon, a felony; careless discharge of a firearm causing injury, a high court misdemeanor; and reckless use of a firearm, a misdemeanor.

The charge of assault with a dangerous weapon could bring a penalty of up to four years in prison, according to the Michigan State Police. The charge of careless discharge of a firearm causing injury could bring a penalty of up to two years in prison. And the charge of reckless use of a firearm could bring a penalty of up to 90 days behind bars.

He was arraigned Friday afternoon in district court in Ionia County, according to a statement from the Michigan State Police. Harvey was given a $10,000 bond.

Friday's developments came 10 days after Joan Jacobson, 84, a longtime Right to Life of Michigan volunteer, was shot in Odessa Township. Richard Harvey previously told WOOD-TV the shooting was an accident.

Jacobson was canvassing against a statewide proposal to enshrine abortion rights in Michigan's constitution. Harvey's wife, Sharon Harvey, supported the proposed amendment known as Proposal 3. Jacobson told The Detroit News Wednesday that Sharon Harvey became angry during their conversation, yelled at her and told her to leave their property.

Jacobson, who is about 5 feet tall and weighs 120 pounds, said she complied with the request and was heading for her car.

"I realized that I saw a man, and the man was standing right beside her," Jacobson said. "And the next thing I knew, I heard a shot and I felt some pain. I was just stunned. The pain was in my back, and it was very severe."

 

Sharon Harvey told WOOD-TV she had a tubal pregnancy in 1971 that required surgery and nearly killed her.

Her husband, Richard Harvey, told the Grand Rapids TV station he used a .22-caliber rifle and fired a warning shot.

"She (Jacobson) is still ranting and raving and she's got this clipboard," Richard Harvey told WOOD-TV. "She's waving it around. I'm thinking she's going to smack Sharon with it. So without thinking, I went to club it away with the rifle and my finger was still in the trigger guard."

The weapon went off, he said.

The bullet entered through the top of Jacobson's shoulder and exited through her back, she said. After being shot, Jacobson was able to drive herself to the police station. She was transported to a hospital in Grand Rapids. Doctors told her the bullet narrowly missed her spine and she was very lucky, Jacobson said.

Attempts to reach the Harveys Tuesday and Thursday were unsuccessful.

(c)2022 The Detroit News Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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