ODESSA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The 84-year-old woman shot and injured while campaigning door-to-door against abortion disputed her shooter’s claim that it was an accident.
“I think he knew what he was doing, and I think it was intentional,” Joan Jacobson told News 8 in an interview from her attorney’s office.
When asked why the man would want to shoot her, she said: “I have no idea.”
“Usually when voters don’t want to talk to you, they just shut the door,” said Jacobson, a longtime Right to Life volunteer who lives in the Lake Odessa area.
That wasn’t the case on Sept. 20, she said, when she knocked on the door of Sharon Harvey on West Bippley Road, near Lake Odessa hoping to convince her to vote against Proposal 3, which would enshrine the right to abortions in the state constitution.
She had already knocked on more than a dozen doors in the area that day. Her goal, she said, is to change minds, “to let them know how radical this proposal is, absolutely.”
Sharon Harvey previously said she told Jacobson she would vote for the proposal to keep abortion legal. That, she told News 8, is when the volunteer got aggressive and refused to leave despite repeated warnings. The volunteer denied that.
“I did not raise my voice, did not get angry with her,” Jacobson said. “I could see that she had her mind made up and anything I said wasn’t going to matter or change her mind.
“She told me to get off her property and I said, ‘I’m going,’ and I got off the porch and down on the sidewalk.”
She said Sharon Harvey followed her onto the sidewalk, continuing to demand that she leave and threatening to call the police on her. That, the volunteer said, is when she noticed Sharon Harvey’s husband Richard Harvey.
He told News 8 he had heard arguing from the barn, grabbed a .22-caliber rifle and fired a warning shot into a tree.
“She’s still ranting and raving, and she’s got this clipboard,” Richard Harvey, 74, said of the volunteer, speaking to News 8 Tuesday. “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.”
The rifle, he said, fired accidentally, striking Jacobson in the shoulder. The shot exited her back.
Jacobson disputes that, saying Harvey was about 7 feet away.
“The thing that I noticed the most was that he had a gun and it was a big gun. It was long barrel and by the time that registered in my brain, I heard a shot and I felt some pain,” she said.
She got in her car and drove to a nearby police station. She was treated for the gunshot wound and will be OK.
Jacobson, who stands 5 feet tall, denies waving her clipboard.
“I don’t think I posed any threat, absolutely none,” she said.
She said she believes her shooter should face criminal charges and she is considering a civil suit.
“I was shocked, I was just really shocked. I had not been aggressive at all,” she said. “I didn’t raise my voice when I was having the conversation with her when I was on the porch.”
In a press release, Jacobson’s attorney David Kallman said the Harveys did not try to help the victim and that Sharon Harvey did not call 911 even though she had a cellphone. Ionia County Central Dispatch said Sharon Harvey did call 911 about 1:30 p.m. that day to report the shooting and say the victim was driving away.
It’s not clear if, when or what charges could be filed. Michigan State Police say they continue to investigate.