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. Fred

    "Texas it's a whole other county" why can’t we make it more than a slogan!

    March 2, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  2. matt hardeman


    March 2, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. Paul from Kissimmee

    This story is really blown way out of context. The picture shows she does not have the gun drawn on him. It's her property. I grew up in a rural area myself, and let me tell you, if something happens to you on a ranch where nobody's around, you may not see help for days. Good for this woman to stick up for herself. So what if she had a weapon. And how did this guy get that close to her house and not know he was on private property?

    March 2, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  4. Sarah

    As a Texan, have to say I ain't surprised.

    Southern Hospitality has been replaced by gun bearing Grandmothers who presumably was busy watching Wheel of Fortune before she saw a foreigner outside her window...

    The silly thing is that I bet she also is a bible toting grandma as well. Too bad she didn't get the Good Samaritan story...

    "Get off my property!" was the message she surely got.

    March 2, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  5. Jose Card - Independent

    Texas is a very different 'country'. I still remember all the trash cans on rest stops off interstate highways in Texas... Each of them says "Don't mess with Texas!"

    If you are stopped by the police, the first thing they ask is "Do you carry any firearms with you?" Other than that, Texans are friendly straight shooters. They cook great 72 oz. steaks. It's free if you can finish eating it and the whole dinner on stage in one hour. If not, you pay $50. A fun place to earn your next month's rent by betting with all the customers!

    March 2, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  6. matt hardeman



    Perspective from the rest of the planet: bizarre.

    March 2, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  7. wendy

    don't mess with texas? hell,don't go to texas!!

    March 2, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. Richard Aubrey

    Did she threaten to shoot him?

    Sounds like she wanted to get him off her property and took the precaution, when she went out, in case he got obnoxious–more obnoxious, I mean.

    March 2, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  9. Raum

    Gotta love Texas

    March 2, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  10. Jon

    As bad as this guy was distracted by walking with his cellphone, we have thousands of morons talking on their cellphones while driving.

    March 2, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    where i come from, killing a total stranger for accidentally walking into your yard is not considered very Christian. were i texan, i would be ashamed, not making jokes. the comments are scarier than the story!

    March 2, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  12. Jeff in Illinois

    First off, I think Bush is our worst president ever, and I generally vote Democrat.

    That being said, there's nothing wrong with her coming out of her house with a gun. Its weird, but there's nothing wrong with it. And the "gun violence" problem in America is not the guns itself. Other, much more peaceful countries, have higher gun-ownership rights than we do. We just have a lot more crazies who tend to use them improperly.

    Also, Manuel made a comment about Hillary-hating Republicans voting for Obama. If they are, then they sure haven't learned the "fool me twice, ye can't fool me again" lesson. McCain is much more likely to win an election against Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama. If Republicans truly wanted to affect the Democrats' chances of winning the White House, they would be voting for Hillary to lose decidedly against McCain.

    March 2, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  13. superman0294

    I think the lady should go to jail for having a gun. She should go to jail because if it is legal to have a gun everybody woulld be shooting each other all the time. Guns should not be legal where ever you live. Thats why I think this lady should go to jail.

    From : Willie Perez

    March 2, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  14. Jeff Scott

    Too bad the old lady didn't shoot.. The media believes they are above the law and have the right to stalk actors and others, I think its time people take their rights back and tell the media to !@#$-off!

    March 2, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  15. KO from Utah

    What if it was just a bunch of kids running through her property. That happens everyday in all the civilized parts of the country. Would that crazy old woman pull a gun on them?

    Private/Personal property. Give me a break.

    Of course the bushie gun lovers think this behaviour is OK. What the hell is wrong with you people?

    March 2, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  16. geno

    Give us that Texas woman's phone number so we can call her to do something about the horde of incredibly rude cell phone users who feel it their right to wander indiscriminately through restaurants, offices, sidewalks, parks, giving everyone around an earfull of their chatter.

    March 2, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  17. Ellis

    Looks like the moonbats are having a field day over this.

    The lady was on her own property, confronting an unknown threat. Unless she was blessed with some psychic ability there was no way for her to determine what this person was doing or was about to do.

    She took appropriate precautions, and obviously never pointed the pistol at the reporter. By the evidence in the photo she merely had it in her hand.

    The people posting negative things about this should google "Raging Against Self-defense". It will provide you guidance on correcting your obvious mental issues.

    March 2, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  18. Joseph Riedel

    I wish people would quit freaking out over this. She didn't point the weapon at him, she just had it on her person, which is completely legal in Texas if the gun is registered and you have a license.

    And for those of you saying Texas should secede, I believe it was Sam Houston who said, "Texas can survive without the Union, but the Union cannot survive without Texas."

    March 2, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  19. Kevin

    Bravo you self-righteous old bag. Bravo. You can't be too careful when your private property is being invaded. Calling 911 is for wimps. Blow everyone away. Everyone. Threatening people's lives with guns is patriotic.

    I'm glad the gun lobby makes moments like this possible. Keep buying politicians NRA. Keep propogating fear, paranoia, and vigilantism. I feel safer knowing that I can blow someone away over a misunderstanding and that everyone can do the same to me.

    March 2, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  20. Texas John

    All you libs can just kiss our TEXAS Grits

    March 2, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. Callit AsI Seeit

    I find it hard to believe that one could wander onto someone's property after crossing a road and not have a clue that he had just done so. I hope this fool does not have a driver's license. That's a great defense to use in any court of law. "I was on the phone and had no idea how I wandered into your store or how your merchandise got into my pocket." I also think it is funny how you lefties react. You want to take away our right to bear arms. You also think that wire tapping criminals is invading your privacy. You want to regulate not only other's constitutional rights, but anything that you do not agree with you would also like to see banned. Funny. Isn't it you LEFTIES that think we have too many rules and regulations but want to impose even more life controlling regulations. Here's what gets me... You want to ban the death penalty, but preserve the right for a woman to have an abortion? WHAT? You protest companies like Ford and Hummer for polluting the atmosphere, so you set fire to their dealerships. Huh? Great counter-measure. Join the left now. Now is the time to protest. Find something, anything to complain about even if it's hypocritical. If they say white, you say black. Just protest, protest, protest. Now is the time kids.

    March 2, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  22. Jason (Wasilla, Alaska)

    How was this threatening? She didn't aim the gun; she probably just brought it with her for "just in case". So to those of you who have said she drew the weapon on him, can you please point this section out? I believe she did good. Police will make contact with you for similar incidents, if you are acting your looking suspicious or just simply don't belong.

    March 2, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  23. Gary C.

    So someone wanders into your front yard, and you can shoot him? I own guns, and I think this is stupid.

    March 2, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  24. HomoSapien

    Moral of the story?? This is exactly why Americans are seen as violent by the rest of the world. In the rest of the world, it IS OK for a person to inadvertently walk on to someone's property. Such incidents end with a "sorry" and possibly a handshake. Only in America do people pull out guns and shoot at each other.

    Uncivilized, is what it's called.

    All morons with the "Don't mess with Texas" comments and other macho wisecracks do not realize how completely ignorant they sound.

    Rednecks with guns – we are not laughing with you, we are laughing at you.

    March 2, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. Jeff

    That says a lot!

    I'm waiting to see how the righteous conservatives are going to blame the leftists for a wave hospitality remarks and how society treats other people.

    The image says enough of how those righteous conservative live their lives as if every one is out to get them, and they need to accost every one by waving a pistil at them. If a mistake would have occurred, I'm sure they would end up saying she forgot to take her pills today, in their defense, as if that makes using the tools of the trade okay.

    Or they would get defensive about remarks on gun restraint.

    Or they would get defensive about remarks on being kind to our neighbors.

    I don't think kindness it a word the righteous conservatives can grasp very well.

    March 2, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
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