March 3rd, 2008
08:45 AM ET
14 years ago

Gun incident near President Bush's ranch


A Danish journalist almost ended up in the middle of an international incident not far from President Bush's ranch Saturday. (Photo credit: Kaare Sorensen/Nyhedsavisen).

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) - A Danish journalist came this close to getting shot Saturday by an elderly woman packing a pistol near President Bush's ranch here in what was easily the strangest incident I've ever witnessed covering the White House.

It all started so innocently as I sat with a group of Danish journalists just down the street from Bush's ranch during a visit by Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The two leaders were having lunch on the ranch, so I was waiting at a nearby historic one-room schoolhouse with White House staff to interview Rasmussen after the meal. Then the prime minister was going to do a brief press conference with the Danish press corps.

Terkel Svensson, a writer for the Danish News Agency, could not get wireless Internet access at the schoolhouse to file a story. But Svensson could get his cell phone working so he called his editor in
Copenhagen and started wandering across a quiet country road as he chatted away.

"I was just so occupied dictating my story that I didn't really see where I went," Svensson told me later. "I was just walking and talking."

What Svensson didn't realize was that he had stopped walking a couple hundred feet away, on the front lawn of an elderly woman. An elderly woman who looked through her window and didn't like that a strange man was standing outside her house. An elderly woman who had, um, a gun.

Next thing you know the woman is outside, no more than a few dozen feet from the journalist, demanding that he leave. "Suddenly she comes out and she says, 'Get off my property. You're trespassing,'" recalled Svensson.

Svensson was too preoccupied to notice the pistol, and was not aware that Texas law gives homeowners leeway on using a weapon when someone is trespassing on your property. All of us journalists across the street were too far away to see the pistol at first, until a Danish photographer with a telephoto lens announced to a bunch of us that there was indeed a weapon in the elderly woman's right hand.

As word spread that the lady had a gun – which she did not use – I can tell you it's a severe understatement to say White House and Secret Service officials were a bit concerned about the fact that they had just dodged an international incident. Ditto for Svensson, who was alarmed when he safely crossed the street and was shown dramatic still photos of the lady holding the gun.

"I will show the photos to my wife and children," Svensson told me. "They thought I was on a safe trip."

CNN was not able to reach the woman for comment.

–CNN White House Correspondent Ed Henry

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (403 Responses)
  1. Jesse

    Armed person = citizen. Unarmed person = subject. Welcome to the United States, now learn our way 🙂

    March 3, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  2. SaneTexan

    Being a native Texan, I'm ashamed that people have stooped to such behavior. The lady has a right to protect her property but she sounds like another gun fanatic to me. That part of the state is known for it's gun-totten redneck, radical people. That is why Bush's ranch is right where it belongs. Remember Waco, Killeen?

    March 3, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  3. Shogan

    An old woman alone in a rural area finds a strange man wandering around her yard and asks him to leave... while she's carrying a gun. That's ALL this is, not a gun incident like this idiot reporter is trying to make it out to be. It's her property, and her Constitutional right to protect herself and her property.

    The Danish Journalist shouldn't have been THAT FAR in the womans yard. It's his fault, period.

    March 3, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  4. Round Rock, Tx

    Wow...It seems a lot of people have all the facts and details of the situation that the rest of us do not.
    Thanks for grouping us "Texans" in a discriminatory way. I'll bet your one heck of a racist also.
    If you don't like Texas, Texans or understand what laws are, then please stay away. I would not come to your state and demand that you change your laws for my benefit.

    March 3, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  5. Cosmic Comedy Queen - Hillary is the Change!

    Never underestimate the little old lady!

    March 3, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  6. Chinaskee

    The reporter shouldn't have been on her property.Good for her.

    March 3, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  7. Maggie

    I would rather the old lady be running our country than her neighbor; at least she didn't USE the gun!

    March 3, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. Edward James

    "I can tell you it's a severe understatement to say White House and Secret Service officials were a bit concerned about the fact that they had just dodged an international incident." Is it? Get over yourselves.

    A journalist wanders onto someone's private property and that person uses a means within their rights to get them off their property and suddenly this is nearly an "international incident?" Come was a journalist. It's not like it was someone actually doing something worthwhile.

    When can we look forward to seeing the headline story about a journalist who gets pulled over for speeding?

    March 3, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  9. Matt

    Well congrates to the old lady. I didn't notice anybody else offering solutions on how to get the guns away from the American public. All you morons who want my guns can have 'em-bullets first.

    March 3, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  10. good for you grannie

    unlike liberal new jersey texans have balls. see if this happened in nj the poor lady would've been arrested and then sued by everyone. not only is nj known as the "come kill me state" (because our liberal gov. is such a worthless idiot), it is also known as the "come sue me state" as well. welcome to nj land of the liberals and home of the idiots

    March 3, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  11. Nonya

    We dont need more gun laws fool. Let all the criminally insane, insane, or just dead in the head people kill each other off. Then there will be peace on earth.

    March 3, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  12. Karla

    For all the idiots out there that think all Texans walk around with guns.....get a life! Texas is the best place to live! Maybe journalist will think twice before wandering off somewhere they don't belong! I bet he does!

    March 3, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  13. Jeremy

    Americans and their pistols! She should have been carrying a rifle, much more accurate at ranges beyond 20 feet or so. Easier for an elderly lady to use.

    March 3, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  14. Anonymous

    I'm laughing at all the negative comments left by the people ridiculing this little old lady. Put yourself in her shoes.... if you were elderly and day after day for the last 8years you have had people lurking around your house(being next to Bush's land) you would be fed up and probably feel threatened too. We have no idea what all this lady could have potentially been through in her life concerning her safety (at her home). Don't be too quick to judge her. Btw, why is this a top news story of the day? I would think there is more important stories going on in the world.

    March 3, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  15. L. Howard

    News Casters/Men are no better than paparazzi. Maybe some of them will
    now realize there are limits to where they can go.

    This gentle old grandma had every right to ask him to leave her property
    and to have a gun to show him she meant business.

    March 3, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  16. MWF Texas

    You idiot liberals (excuse me, ignorant people) need to check your facts. Like .....what is the incidence of violent crime in Crawford, Texas and what is it in any similar sized city on New England? Go ahead, check....I dare you!

    If you live on a ranch in Texas you have firearms to protect yourself from rabid coyotes, to protect your property from illegal immigrants and to scare off anyone you haven't invited to be on your front porch. Granny didn't HAVE TO use her pistol, as the picture clearly shows, just showing it was enough to get that reporter to leave.

    Down here we own firearms, lots of them! If that makes you nervous then stay in Vermont ....PLEASE !

    March 3, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  17. Vantrese

    From a Fellow (proud and black) TEXAN

    In Texas not just "rednecks" have guns.....stay off our property and no one gets hurt. It's funny that when Americans go to other countries or even when I visit other states, I have the intelligence to find out the local the same when you come here or don't come at all.

    March 3, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  18. Janet B

    hey, Jim, there's NOTHING anti-American with voicing your opinion which is what Corey did... there is something anti-American, in my view, that you want to shoot someone dead because they have voiced their opinion. Get a grip and start being an American with real American values... not the kind that shoots at people for expressing themselves. That's just fascism!

    March 3, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  19. Jason

    I think that we actually secretly lost the Mexi-American war and had to take Texas as part of our loses.

    March 3, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Go Granny GO. He's lucky she didn't have a shotgun.......Don't Mess With TEXAS!!!!!!!

    March 3, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  21. Andrew

    The kneejerk reactions in this comments section are a very sad reflection of peoples' mentality today. Nowhere in the article did it say a shot was fired. Nowhere even in the reporter's recollection did he say he was threatened with a gun. He recalled that he was very sternly asked to leave. He only found out there was a gun after getting back to his group and seeing photos. In the portrayed photo, you can see what appears to be a handgun held next to the lady's side pointed down. If you look very carefully you can see that her finger is off the trigger.

    This is proper use of a firearm. You do not threaten with it. You don't wave it around and advertise. You have one, just in case, and you don't use it unless you have to.

    March 3, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  22. Justin

    I agree 100% with the Grandma if theres some strange guy walking around on my land im most definetly going to protect myself. I read all these comments about gun laws this that or the other thing... Do any of you stop too think what could happen to your families if we inforce a no gun policy any where in the world... Think of your kids sleeping safely and you in your tiny little world without a form of protection and someone breaks in THEN What he has a gun you have a fork and knife what are you going to do.... DIE thats right your going TO DIE.... Stop dictating what we should have you have no more control over it than anyone.. This women felt unsafe and she defended herself she had no idea who it was or what he was doing i would have done the same thing... THANK GOD FOR THE GUN TOTING GRANNY FROM TEXAS..

    March 3, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  23. Jamie

    Beware of theElderly Lady witha gun. She probably Knows how to use it! I am all for her and her right on her property.

    March 3, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  24. Robert

    You are insane. The guy innocently wanders onto her property and you think she's justified in waving a gun at him and possibly, shooting him? What the hell is wrong with you?

    March 3, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  25. Ross

    As I read these comments, many from Europeans, I am reminded why my ancestors left so many years ago.

    March 3, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
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