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Texas man watching New Year's fireworks dies of stray bullet

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The death of a Houston man killed by a stray bullet while watching New Year’s Eve fireworks with his wife in front of his house has been ruled a homicide, a medical examiner’s office said on Friday.

Javier Suarez Rivera, 43, was standing on the edge of his driveway when he dropped to the ground. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences said the man died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Paramedics were called, and they provided medical assistance, but Rivera was pronounced dead at the scene, Houston police said.

Houston police said they believed the shot was part of celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve. No arrests have been made in the case.

Police forces in major Texas cities regularly issue warnings ahead of the New Year holiday telling people not to celebrate by firing guns into the air.

A Houston police spokesman said there were no reports of gunfire in the area at the time of Rivera’s death.

“We do remind the people every year at this time, and during the Fourth of July, that discharging a weapon into the air can be very dangerous and result in a tragedy like this one,” Houston Police Department spokesman Victor Senties said.

Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Mohammad Zargham