Texas attorney shot by Cheney during 2006 hunting trip dies at 95


Harry Whittington, the person whom former Vice President Dick Cheney unintentionally shot whereas they had been hunting quail on a Texas ranch 17 years in the past, has died. He was 95.

Whittington died at his house Saturday in Austin, household buddy Karl Rove mentioned Monday.

Earlier than the unintentional capturing thrust Whittington into the nationwide highlight, the attorney was lengthy recognized for serving to construct the Republican Get together in Texas into the dominant political pressure it’s as we speak and for being the person governors went to once they wanted to scrub up troubled state companies.

Rove, an influential Republican strategist and former adviser to former President George W. Bush, mentioned Whittington was “a person of monumental integrity and deep compassion” who was referred to as on by leaders for “vital duties.”

Whittington and others had been hunting with Cheney on the sprawling Armstrong Ranch in South Texas on Feb. 11, 2006, when Cheney, whereas aiming for a chicken, struck Whittington, who was 78 at the time. The accident wasn’t publicly reported till the following day when the ranch proprietor referred to as the native newspaper — the Corpus Christi Caller-Instances — and instructed the paper what had occurred.

Whittington was sprayed with birdshot pellets to his face, neck and chest and suffered a minor coronary heart assault as a result of a pellet lodged close to his coronary heart. When he left the hospital a couple of week after the accident, he mentioned “accidents do and can occur,” and apologized to Cheney, saying he was “deeply sorry for every little thing” Cheney and his household needed to cope with after the incident.

Cheney was criticized for breaking a cardinal rule of hunting — that somebody holding a gun ought to ensure they know what they’re firing at earlier than pulling the set off — and for not instantly going public with what occurred.

The accident additionally spawned numerous jokes. Jay Leno, then-host of “The Tonight Present” on NBC, quipped that Cheney can be capitalizing on the accident for the upcoming Valentine’s Day with a brand new cologne named “Duck.” Billionaire Invoice Gates greeted his viewers at a convention by saying, “I’m actually glad to be right here. My different invitation was to go quail hunting with Dick Cheney.”

In an interview with Fox Information days after the accident, Cheney mentioned it was “one of many worst days of my life at that second.”

Cheney mentioned the accident occurred after Whittington had stepped out of the hunting social gathering to get a downed chicken in deep cowl. Cheney mentioned that Whittington was dressed correctly in orange and the higher a part of his physique was seen, however that he was standing in a gully with the solar behind him.

“You’ll be able to’t blame anyone else,” Cheney mentioned. “I’m the man who pulled the set off and shot my buddy.”

Whittington owned a downtown Austin constructing the place lots of the state’s GOP energy brokers constructed their empires. Bush used the constructing for his gubernatorial marketing campaign headquarters, as did former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Rove additionally had his workplace there.

Whittington was a longtime participant in Texas politics. In 1961, he labored on John Tower’s marketing campaign for the U.S. Senate and later helped a younger Bush run for Congress, a race he misplaced. He was additionally a go-to man for governors making an attempt to scrub up troubled state companies and spent many years serving on state boards.

Within the Nineteen Eighties, Republican Gov. Invoice Clements appointed him to the previous Texas Board of Corrections, which oversaw a state jail system a federal choose had declared unconstitutional due to brutal situations.

Whittington grew to become an advocate for change in a jail system that lacked primary medical care and the place individuals serving time had been subjected to beatings by different inmates. He was additionally an advocate of the rights of inmates who’ve psychological disabilities.

Bush, then governor of Texas, appointed him in 1999 to guide a restructured Texas Funeral Providers Fee, which was embroiled in a whistleblower lawsuit.

Rove mentioned Whittington not solely served his neighborhood in numerous methods however was additionally “an unlimited supply of fine counsel and mentorship to dozens,” together with him. He mentioned Whittington was not solely his landlord, but in addition the secretary and treasurer of his firm.

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