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Texas Sheriff Barred From Interviewing Cheney About Shooting Incident

Think Progress | February 14, 2006

CBS News reports that local law enforcement officials were prevented from interviewing Vice President Cheney after he accidentally shot a 78-year-old man during a hunting trip:

CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer reports Texas authorities are complaining that the Secret Service barred them from speaking to Cheney after the incident. Kenedy County Texas Sheriffs Lt. Juan Guzman said deputies first learned of the shooting when an ambulance was called.

McClellan was asked about it at the press briefing but played dumb:

QUESTION: Scott, there’s a report coming out of a sheriff’s deputy there who said that he was prevented from interviewing the vice president by the Secret Service. Do you know anything about that? And is that appropriate?

MCCLELLAN: No, I don’t know anything about that. You have got to direct that to the Secret Service. My understanding was that Secret Service took the appropriate steps to inform law enforcement.

Of course, the question is not whether the Secret Service informed law enforcement, but whether law enforcement was permitted to speak with Cheney. As Talk Left notes, although the incident was an accident, it could constitute criminal negligence.

UPDATE: National Journal reports that, after initial resistance, Cheney was interviewed by law enforcement sometime on Sunday.

UPDATE II: At the breifing McClellan refuses to “speculate” as to whether the accidental shooting was a criminal offense:

QUESTION: Under Texas law, is this kind of accidental shooting a possible criminal offense?

MCCLELLAN: I won’t even speculate on that, but I think the sheriff’s office or the local law enforcement office has already commented on that and said it was a hunting accident.


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