02.11.06 Vice President Dick Cheney Accidentally Shot
Cheney accidentally shoots fellow hunter Texas
lawyer struck in face, chest with birdshot
From Dana Bash
CNNMonday, February 13, 2006; Posted: 2:09 a.m.
EST (07:09 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice
President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a
campaign contributor during a weekend quail hunt on a
friend's South Texas ranch, local authorities and the
vice president's office said Sunday.
The wounded man, 78-year-old Harry Whittington, was in
intensive care at a Corpus Christi hospital after being
hit by several pellets of birdshot Saturday afternoon,
hospital spokesman Peter Banko told CNN.
"He's doing well and in stable condition today," Banko
Whittington, an Austin attorney who gave $1,000 to
President Bush's 2000 campaign and $2,000 to his 2004
re-election bid, was among a handful of people
accompanying the vice president when the accident
occurred Saturday afternoon.
Cheney, 65, visited him Sunday afternoon at the
hospital, "and was pleased to see he is doing fine and
in good spirits," Cheney spokeswoman Lee Anne McBride
The shooting occurred about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Kenedy
County Sheriff Ray Salinas said. He said his deputies
are investigating the shooting but consider it an
Cheney, an avid hunter, was shooting at a covey of quail
on the Armstrong Ranch near Kingsville, about 30 miles
southwest of Corpus Christi. The ranch's owner,
Katharine Armstrong, said Whittington was about 30 yards
from Cheney when the vice president fired.
Armstrong, who was with the group when the accident
occurred, said Whittington was "peppered" with birdshot.
Pellets hit him in the face and chest, but he never lost
consciousness, she said. (Watch Armstrong describe what
happened -- 6:34)
She said Whittington had just shot a quail and had
dropped back to retrieve it. He was hit upon rejoining
the group and "apparently came up unannounced" as Cheney
prepared to fire.
Whittington, a prominent Texas Republican, has been
active in state politics since the 1960s and served as
chairman of the state Board of Corrections from 1979 to
In 1999, then-Gov. George W. Bush named him to the state
Funeral Services Commission, which had been stung by
allegations of widespread corruption and mismanagement
in the industry.
Armstrong told CNN that Whittington was a guest of hers,
not someone Cheney invited, and she did not know whether
the two men had met before.
The vice president, his Secret Service detail and other
companions rushed to the wounded man's aid, Armstrong
Similar accidents occur "not frequently, but often"
among hunters in the area, Salinas said. He said an
ambulance that was posted at the ranch while Cheney was
visiting took Whittington to the hospital.
Armstrong said Cheney was firing a 28-gauge shotgun, a
small-bore weapon commonly used for hunting birds.
Cheney has come to her ranch to hunt quail once a year
for at least 15 years, and she called him "a very
"I would shoot with Dick Cheney everywhere, anywhere,
and not think twice about it," she said. But she said,
"The nature of quail shooting ensures that this will
happen. It goes with the turf."