Michael Harvey’s death: Friends recall teenager who was ‘good person that just snapped’ — (Knoxville News Sentinal )

SSRI Ed note: Popular, church-going student, 16, with no history of problems takes antidepressants, shoots Sheriff's deputy and himself.

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Knoxville News Sentinal

By Ericka Mellon, Mellone@Knews.Com

Posted: March 14, 2004

LENOIR CITY – Rose Taylor, a senior at Lenoir City High School, had not eaten in more than 24 hours.

The bespectacled teenager had had a weak stomach since learning her good friend 16-year-old Michael Harvey was believed to have fatally shot a Loudon County sheriff’s deputy and would not come out of his house.

Early Saturday afternoon, she and two friends gathered on a grassy hill, outside the plush Cabot Ridge subdivision, just down the street from the Palmer Drive residence where Harvey was holed up.

They came for answers. They left in tears.

Around 3 p.m., Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider stood on the same hill and announced that Harvey, a junior at Lenoir City High School, had been found dead, with a gunshot wound to the head, inside the house.

“Oh, God,” Taylor said she thought. “I kind of expected it, but I didn’t want it.”

After Guider spoke, Taylor and her friends, Ciara Hargis and Quinn Fine, exited the media-drenched area and went to O’Charley’s for lunch.

Like the rest of Loudon County, they tried to cope with the tragedy of two young lives lost.

Deputy Jason Scott was 24.

And they tried to make sense of what led the Michael Harvey they knew – a good friend who had battled with depression but had a good sense of humor – to this end.

“Repressed emotions, that would be my best guess,” Taylor said. “He would tell you he was ticked off about something, but he wouldn’t talk about it.

“If you don’t have a way to release your emotions, you eventually just crack.”

Hargis said Harvey had spent some time at Peninsula Hospital, which offers inpatient mental health care.

“I knew he had some problems with depression, and that’s normal enough. But he was in Peninsula for a little while,” Hargis said.

Dwight Van de Vate, chief deputy for the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday that Harvey “apparently had been drinking (Thursday) night.”

Harvey’s assistant manager at Little Joe’s Pizza in Farragut said he left the restaurant around 10 p.m. and told him he planned to rent a movie and watch it.

Taylor and Hargis said they did not hang out with Harvey on Thursday night, but they heard “he was drinking a bit, a little bit,” Taylor said.

Both teens said Harvey did drink alcohol, but they had no reason to worry about it. He was an intelligent teenager who loved movies, music and video games, they said.

“It wasn’t a serious thing,” Taylor said of his drinking. “He didn’t drink very much. He drank like most high-schoolers drink.”

“For him, it was a game,” she added. “He kind of used life as a game. I don’t know if that was a way for him to cope with things. He didn’t take very much seriously.”

Charlie Sharp, who moved into Cabot Ridge in November, also waited on the hill Saturday afternoon for news. Like Taylor, he expected officers would find Harvey dead.

“Of course, you hope the person comes out alive, but this sheriff has shown great restraint. They’re to be commended,” Sharp said.

“As bad as it sounds, the life of a 16-year-old is not worth the life of another police officer,” he added.

Scott Parker, 44, spent part of Saturday afternoon doing construction work on a house in the Hidden Cove subdivision about a mile from the Harvey residence. Both homes overlook Fort Loudoun Lake, which couldn’t help but sparkle under the weekend sun.

Lamenting the shooting death of deputy Scott, Parker reminisced about days past, when guns didn’t seem to cause so much harm.

“Times have changed so much,” Parker said. “I graduated from high school in 1977. I’d go squirrel hunting some days before school. I’d carry a shotgun and leave it in the backseat of the car sitting in the school parking lot. It’s just, times have changed. And it’s a sad change.”

At Little Joe’s, co-workers cried and hugged each other outside the restaurant after hearing Harvey was gone.

“I don’t even think it’s really sunk in yet,” said Chris Inklebarger, 20, who was working at the restaurant during his spring break from the University of Georgia. “I want people to know that he was a good person that just snapped one day. He wasn’t a bad guy.”

Wayne Miller, the superintendent of Lenoir City Schools, said Harvey had no discipline problems in school.

“This was the kid next door,” Miller said. “He was reasonably quiet and reasonably polite, just your average high school student.”

Miller also spoke highly of Harvey’s parents. His father, Frank, is an assistant district attorney for Loudon County. His mother, Ann, was formerly the executive director of United Way of Loudon County.

“They’re wonderful people. They’re caring and compassionate,” he said. “I can only imagine the trauma they feel.”

Lenoir City High School will have the school’s two psychologists available to talk to students on Monday.

“I just want to emphasize that if young people feel the stress or pressure to succeed, there’s absolutely staff members to help them through,” Miller said. “Don’t be ashamed to step forward.”

Taylor and Hargis said they plan to wear black bands around their arms to honor their friend at school.

“He’s our fallen comrade,” Taylor said.

Ericka Mellon may be reached at 865-342-6334.


Original article no longer available


March 17, 2004

By YVONNE NAVA, 6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) — The minister of the Michael Harvey family spoke with 6 News about the troubled teen involved in the deadly March 12th standoff and his family’s response. [ teen found dead ]

Michael Harvey’s father, Frank, is a deacon at the Church of the Savior, United Church of Christ in Knoxville. His mother, Ann, was a religious education coordinator.

And 16-year-old Michael and Rev. John Bluth Gill were so close that twice during the standoff, Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider had Gill use a loud speaker to try talking to Michael.

“No one knows for sure what the time of Michael’s death was or if he was still alive…whether he was able to hear us or not,” Gill said. “That’s something that haunts me a little bit…that I wonder about.”

Gill knew Harvey for eight years and describes him as a smiling boy who was very involved in the church. He said that last week, Harvey visited his youth group leader who was in the hospital.

“Michael was a quiet child but he engaged. He participated. He probably had some difficulties sharing his deepest feelings. But you never felt like he was disengaged,” Gill said.

But beneath the surface, Harvey battled depression. In September 2003, he attempted suicide. “That was a sign everybody recognized,” Gill said. “There’s something going on here that we didn’t see. And so they immediately had him in patient care. First in-patient, out-patient, then in counseling the rest of the year.”

Gill said Harvey’s parents were very responsive and supportive.

Harvey was taking anti-depressants, receiving counseling and seemed to be doing well. Gill said there never were indications of violent behavior. “I think it’ll take time for all of us to figure out whether there is something we can find as a reason for this.”

Michael Harvey’s father has issued a statement that reads, “Words cannot express the grief we feel for this tragedy. I wish we knew what snapped in Michael. I wish we could turn back time. This is beyond understanding.”

Gill said the Harvey family is also concerned about the well-being of Joni Scott, the widow of the deputy killed at the beginning of the standoff with Harvey. They ask that instead of sending flowers, people make donations to the Scott memorial funds.