Billy Joe Shaver Connected to Waco Shooting

www.Tennessean.com
Beverly Keel

Country singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver has been connected to a shooting in a Texas bar Saturday night.

A man was shot in the face about 8:30 p.m. on the covered back porch of Papa Joe’s Texas Saloon in Lorena, a suburb of Waco, said John Moran, Lorena city manager and chief of police. The name and age of the victim, who remains in Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, have not been released, he said.

Shaver “has not been charged with anything and hopefully he won’t be charged with anything,” said Austin attorney Joseph Turner, who represents the songwriter.

Turner is a well-known and highly successful criminal defense attorney who has represented Willie Nelson, Matthew McConaughey and Branch Davidian Ruth Riddle.

“He is not under arrest and they haven’t issued any warrants for his arrest.”

Shaver is a beloved Texas performer whose songs have been recorded by Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Marty Stuart. His songs were the basis for Jennings’ landmark 1973 Honky Tonk Heroes album.

His own hits include “Georgia on a Fast Train” in 1973 and “You Asked Me To” in 1978. He was a 2006 inductee into the Texas Music Hall of Fame.

Turner was retained by Shaver, 67, on Saturday and has been in touch with police investigators. “We are cooperating the best we can. They are still conducting the investigation.”

Turner would not comment on speculation that the man who was shot had a knife.

Moran, the Lorena police chief, would not discuss details of the case or confirm that Shaver was involved.

“I am not saying this person is a person of interest at this point because it is a case in progress. The Texas Rangers are assisting in this investigation. I can’t go into details on it right now.”

There were witnesses to the shooting, Moran said. The Waco Tribune-Herald reported that about 25 people were in the bar.

“We’ve been talking to folks,” Moran said. “There are a lot of people to talk to.”

When asked about the shooting Sunday night, the person answering the phone at Papa Joe’s said, “There wasn’t none, thank you,” and hung up.

However, an eyewitness told the Waco newspaper the shooting occurred outside the back door.

“All I heard was a pop,” said the man, who wouldn’t give the newspaper his name. “I thought it was a firecracker. (The victim) came walking back in with his hand on his cheek and had blood all over his face.

“Then I guess the (shooter) ran and got in his car and took off.”

A Lorena police officer told the Waco paper that he had difficulty getting information from customers at the scene. “No one knows a thing,” he told the paper. “If they do know, they’re not saying anything.”

Shaver’s greatest hits album is scheduled for release on Tuesday, and promotional events have not been canceled. Shaver is set to deliver an in-store performance at Waterloo in Austin on Tuesday, said his manager, Brad Turcotte.

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