When sitting down, Harvey Kerby no longer feels the nagging pain that reminds him of the bullet lodged in his side. His metal hip implant took the bullet May 4 from a man shooting at his car along Ga. 365 in north Hall County.
“They told me that thing may move one of these days,” the Gainesville man said.
More has now been learned about the shooting. The Hall County Sheriff’s Office completed its report this month, and The Times obtained the documents in an open records request last week.
How the story unfolded was known: Rex Harbour wounded two drivers after firing at least 17 shots from the woods alongside the highway.
While fleeing the scene by car with a Georgia State Patrol vehicle gaining on him, Harbour grabbed a 9 mm Smith and Wesson and shot himself in the head. The Buick Century he was driving drifted into the grassy median, weaving left and right before slowly colliding with a trooper’s car.
The “why” remains less certain, though his car and the items he left behind at his Snellville home showed investigators his motive “appeared to be consistent with anti-government rhetoric,” Hall County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Scott Ware.
Authorities found some 350 rounds of 9 mm ammunition, 3,000 rounds of .22-caliber ammunition and 150 rounds of 12-gauge shotgun ammunition in his possession.
Joe Welborn, one of the men shot, said last week his condition has not changed much since the bullet went through his leg. Welborn plugged the wounds with his fingers before two people stopped to apply a makeshift tourniquet.
“Part of it’s all healed up. The only problem was the bullet must have connected with the nerves in there. I got some nerve damage in my foot, but I’m able to get around and maneuver and all,” Welborn said.
In the closet of Harbour’s Snellville home, investigators found a locked box with notes, letters, a memoir and his plans.
The man said he had fired 16 shots on Ga. 124 on May 2, missing every time. He said he also was “going to kill one American driver on my way to the airport in Gainesville, Georgia” before heading to Europe for a new life.
Gwinnett County Police did not have any information regarding the Ga. 124 shooting reference. The sheriff’s office said it could not verify such an incident with local agencies in the area, adding there were no calls or complaints made regarding shots fired.
Ware also said “no evidence or ticket information supported” the claim Harbour was going to the airport after conducting the shooting.
His writings indicated he hated Americans, having called Sept. 11, 2001, an “awesome day.” He called the Parkland, Florida, shooter who killed 17 high school students and staff members a person who gave him confidence and courage.
“I truly believe Americans were the first ones on the Earth and started rebellion and immoralism,” he wrote on papers found at his home. “Americans love to criticize on everything and everyone. They love to pressure people of different countries like Israel, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Vietnam to live a Western kind of life with no devotion to God, do what you want, and viewing everybody equal.”
Harbour wrote he was a “patriot of the Confederate states of Americans” and viewed black people as “fourth class.”
Among items found in his possession were letters to Kayla Rae Norton, a Georgia prisoner who was convicted in February 2017 of terroristic threats. In Douglas County two years earlier, Norton and Jose Torres were accused of threatening a black child’s birthday party, which the court believed to be inspired by racial hatred.
“I think that the sentence they gave you is ridiculous. I feel so sorry for you and Jose and especially for your kids. I hate that they’re not able to be with their parents,” Harbour wrote to Norton. He asked about her well-being and offered to help with her commissary account.
When authorities fully searched Harbour’s car, officers discovered multiple handguns and three long guns — a .22 caliber bolt-action rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a pump-action BB gun.
Along with copious camping supplies, authorities found a wig, an FBI T-shirt and a fake FBI lanyard.
Dr. Justin Donaldson, a forensic psychologist who has provided analysis for cases in Hall County, examined some of the writings found in the open records request. Donaldson wrote in an email there was “fairly strong evidence of illness.”
As a caveat, Donaldson said he would be able to make a more informed opinion if he could know a person’s substance abuse history, history of treatment and other sources of information. For comparison, if he was given similar information from an attorney, he would not testify or say much more than an “overall picture to help guide the attorney’s decision-making.”
From the writings, Donaldson said there were “signs of disorganized thinking, possibly delusional thinking and beliefs.”
On one page that had the phrase “F--- Americans” multiple times, and there was a sentence, “I’ll kill them in the name of ISIS.”
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derreck Booth said investigators concluded Harbour had “no ties to the group.”