US vice president shoots man in hunting accident

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dick Cheney

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter in the face on Saturday during a bird hunting trip at a south Texas ranch.

The victim, 78-year-old Harry Whittington, is an Austin lawyer who was accompanying the Vice President on a south Texas quail hunt when he was sprayed with shotgun pellets to his face and chest. The wounded hunter is currently recovering at Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital where he is in stable condition, and is said to be alert and joking with visitors.

Cheney spent several hours at the hospital with Whittington before departing for Washington, praying for a happy and permanent reconciliation with Whittington.

The incident was not disclosed by Cheney's office until Sunday. Lea Anne McBride, the spokeswoman of VP Cheney, explained the delay was in deference to the owner of the ranch, Katharine Armstrong, where the accident occurred. Ms. Armstrong first reported the news to The Corpus Christi Caller-Times on Sunday , approximately 18 hours after the incident.

Armstrong said that Cheney was the right-most man in a three-man formation and that Whittington had failed to observe hunting protocol when he quietly approached the formation without announcing his presence. Cheney, who was using a 28 gauge shotgun, fired at a flushed covey of quail, inadvertently hitting the lawyer from a distance of about 30 yards. It is not known if any quail were struck.