A double amputee accused of shooting a father outside a Midtown gym reportedly didn’t know the man before he initiated what appeared to be a random attack, authorities say.
During a probable cause hearing Tuesday, prosecutors confirmed that suspect Joey Harper, 27, had no relationship with Nehemias Alejandro Olmedo, who was shot Sunday after leaving a gym near Louisiana and Elgin.
Harper, who is missing both of his legs, now faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and felon in possession of a firearm. He is currently booked in the Harris County Jail with no bond.
Houston police said Harper, who uses a wheelchair, was wearing a mask and wielding a .380 pistol when he approached Olmedo around 1 p.m. Olmedo was placing his daughter in the backseat of the car when he was shot, police said.
THE SHOOTING: Man shot in front of young daughter outside Midtown gym
Olmedo was taken to an area hospital in critical condition, but he is expected to survive, police said.
During the probable cause hearing, prosecutors cited Harper’s previous felony convictions when asking to make him ineligible for pre-trial release.
Harper pleaded guilty to robbery in Harris County in 2010 after waiving a jury trial, records show. He was sentenced to two years in prison on that charge.
In 2013, Harper again pleaded guilty to a felony charge in Harris County, this time for stalking. Court records show he threatened to kill a woman while stalking her over a two-month period. He was sentenced to three years in prison for that charge.
Harper has also been convicted of three misdemeanor charges, including theft in 2009 and criminal trespass in 2011 and in 2017, records show.
During the most recent incident, police said a wounded Olmedo tackled Harper and knocked him out of his wheelchair. However, Harper “wrestled away” and left in the wheelchair, police said.
A witness followed Harper to a business parking lot about three blocks away and called police. There, responding officers saw Harper trying to leave in a friend’s vehicle, police said.
Police detained him and asked permission to open his bag on the floor near the vehicle’s passenger seat. Harper allowed the search, and police found a black ski mask and a black and silver .380 pistol, police said.
During the probable cause hearing, Harper’s defense attorney said he’s lived in Houston all of his life. He gets federal disability benefits and bolsters his income by selling bottled water, his attorney said.
Harper’s next hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday in the 248th District Court in Harris County.