Texas Cops Release Cheney Shooting Report

Veep's victim claimed, "foremost there was no alcohol" during hunt

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Texas Cops Release Cheney Shooting Report

FEBRUARY 16--Five days after Vice President Dick Cheney shot a hunting partner, a Texas sheriff today released his department's report on the incident, but declined to make public statements and affidavits taken from four members of Cheney's quail hunting party.

A copy of the Kenedy County Sheriff's Department report, released this afternoon by Sheriff Ramon Salinas, can be found here.

The sheriff's report includes information provided to deputies by Cheney and Harry Whittington, the 78-year-old lawyer who was struck in the face, neck, and chest by the vice president's wayward birdshot. Cheney was interviewed Sunday morning, more than 14 hours after the Saturday afternoon incident. There is no indication in the sheriff's report that he was questioned about alcohol consumption during the February 12 interview with Chief Deputy Gilberto San Miguel, who authored the sheriff's incident report.

Seen at right, Whittington, who was questioned Monday at a Corpus Christi hospital, declined to have his Q&A session taped and told investigators that "foremost there was no alcohol during the hunt." In a Fox News interview yesterday, Cheney said that he downed one beer at lunch Saturday afternoon.

Along with San Miguel's report, investigators also released a two-page supplemental report prepared by Salinas, who learned of a "possible hunting accident" from Captain Charles Kirk around 5:30 PM Saturday. About ten minutes later, Salinas was called by a Secret Service agent who reported that the accident at the Armstrong Ranch "involved Vice-President Cheney."

Salinas then contacted Ramiro Medellin, a former Kenedy County sheriff who works at the 50,000-acre ranch. Medellin, Salinas reported, told him, "This in fact is an accident," adding that he had spoken with "some of the people in the hunting party who were eyewitnesses and that they all said it was definitely a hunting accident."

After speaking with Medellin, Salinas apparently believed that there was no need for further investigation that night. He then contacted San Miguel and directed his deputy to arrive at the Armstrong Ranch the following morning at 8 AM to interview Cheney and other witnesses.

In addition to questioning the vice president, San Miguel obtained affidavits or statements from four members of Cheney's hunting party, including ranch owner Katharine Armstrong, hunting guide Gerardo Medellin, and Pamela Willeford, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland (Willeford was standing next to Cheney when he shot Whittington). However, the sheriff's department declined today to release those affidavits and statements, the substance of which is not described in the San Miguel report.

The only reference to details from these witness accounts is San Miguel's notation that Armstrong, with whom he spoke briefly, "told me pretty much the same story Mr. Cheney told me." On Tuesday, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issued the first report on the Cheney shooting incident. (5 pages)