Man shot by Cheney leaving hospital - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Man shot by Cheney leaving hospital

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Posted: Friday, February 17, 2006 11:43 am

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The lawyer shot by Vice President Dick Cheney during a hunting trip was being discharged from a hospital Friday and told reporters he was deeply sorry for all the trouble Cheney had faced over the past week.

Cheney, speaking to the Wyoming Legislature on Friday, also alluded to the shooting as he thanked lawmakers for their half-minute standing ovation, saying the warm greeting was especially welcome "when you've had a very long week."

"Thankfully, Harry Whittington is on the mend and doing well," Cheney said.

In Texas, Whittington wore a suit and tie as he gave his brief statement outside the hospital. His voice was a bit raspy, but strong, and he had what appeared to be a line of cuts on his upper right eyelid and scrapes on his neck.

"We all assume certain risks in what we do, in what activities we pursue," the 78-year-old Austin attorney said. "Accidents do and will happen."

Whittington was hit in the face, neck and chest with birdshot Saturday during a hunting trip at a South Texas ranch. He had been listed in stable condition in a Corpus Christi hospital since suffering a mild heart attack Tuesday after a shotgun pellet traveled to his heart.

Cheney took full blame for the shooting in an interview Wednesday with Fox News, his first public comments on what happened that day.

"I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend," Cheney said in the interview. He said it was "one of the worst days of my life."

Dr. David Blanchard, chief of emergency care at Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial, said Whittington will go home Friday because of "his excellent health," but Blanchard added that "he is not 100 percent."

During his statement, Whittington said the past weekend involved "a cloud of misfortune and sadness that is not easy to explain, especially with those who are not familiar with the great sport of quail hunting."

He said he sent his love and respect to Cheney and his family.

"My family and I are deeply sorry for everything Vice President Cheney and his family have had to deal with," he said. "We hope that he will continue to come and seek the relaxation that he deserves."

The Kenedy County Sheriff's Department closed its investigation of the shooting on Thursday without filing any charges. The department released an incident report that supported accounts from the ranch owner and Cheney.

Cheney told an investigator that he did not see Whittington while aiming for a bird. Whittington "explained foremost there was no alcohol during the hunt and everyone was wearing the proper hunting attire of blaze orange," Chief Deputy Gilberto San Miguel Jr. wrote.

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