The Secret Service, which put the time of the shooting at 5:50 p.m., said it had notified Sheriff Ramon Salinas III of Kenedy County by 7 p.m.
Sheriff Salinas said he had dispatched a deputy, and he later issued a news release suggesting that the officer had been turned away at the ranch. The Washington Post on Wednesday quoted Sheriff Salinas as saying that he first learned of the shooting from one of his captains, who had been summoned to escort the ambulance, but that he arrived after the ambulance left and that the Border Patrol agent guarding the gate during Mr. Cheney’s visit knew nothing of any shooting.
Sheriff Salinas did not return repeated calls, and a reporter seeking to resolve the discrepancies was turned away Wednesday by the sheriff’s office in Sarita, which said he was “unavailable.”
Ms. Armstrong said she knew nothing of any attempted visit by a deputy on Saturday night.
The Secret Service appears also to have gotten word to the White House.
Between 8 and 9 p.m., Ms. Armstrong recalled, Karl Rove, the president’s deputy chief of staff, called her “to check on Harry,” who she said was “an old friend of Karl’s.” She said there was no discussion of what President Bush had been told of the shooting and whether he knew that Mr. Cheney had fired the shots.
Ms. Armstrong and her guests insisted that the focus Saturday was solely on Mr. Whittington and that no one talked about whether or how to put out the news of the incident. “I’m telling you, there was no discussion at all, there wasn’t,” she said.
Mr. Love agreed. “We were all quite shaken,” he said, adding that Mr. Cheney was “just crushed.”
No one thought to call David Gregory! That’s inexplicable.