The Vice President Done Popped a Cap in Some Guy's Ass!!!!!!!

Dick Cheney has gone straight up gangsta. His ass done popped a cap in some old lawyers ass while hunting. How is that for gun control. If that ain't proof the man is ailing and probably about to Ronald Reagan (become senile), I don't know what is.

VP shoots hunting partner in accident

Austin lawyer hospitalized after being sprayed with birdshot

11:46 PM CST on Sunday, February 12, 2006

By DAVID McLEMORE and CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News

A prominent Austin lawyer remained hospitalized in stable condition Sunday after he was accidentally shot by Vice President Dick Cheney during a South Texas quail hunt.

Harry Whittington, 78, a millionaire civil attorney known as a tenacious battler not afraid to fight City Hall, was being treated in the intensive care unit at a Corpus Christi hospital after he was sprayed with birdshot during an incident at the Armstrong Ranch in Kenedy County on Saturday.

Harry Whittington, shown in this 2005 photo, was hit in the cheek, neck and chest.

"He is stable and doing well. It was almost like he was spending time with me in my living room," said hospital administrator Peter Banko.

Mr. Banko said Mr. Whittington was in the intensive care unit because his condition warranted it, but he didn't elaborate. Mr. Whittington sent word through a hospital official that he would have no comment on the incident out of respect for Mr. Cheney, 65.

Sally Whittington, Mr. Whittington's daughter, said she got a call from her mother, Mercedes, Saturday night indicating that her father had been shot.

"They were very quiet and didn't want to say anything about [Mr.] Cheney," she said, adding that the vice president visited her father Sunday morning.

"He feels so bad," said Ms. Whittington. "He's a very accomplished hunter. He was obviously relieved to see how well my father was doing."

The vice president and his wife returned to Washington on Sunday afternoon.

The vice president's press secretary, Lea Anne McBride, said Mr. Cheney "was pleased to see that he's doing fine and in good spirits."

Saturday afternoon

The shooting incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. Saturday on the sprawling 50,000-acre ranch just south of Sarita in deep South Texas.

There was no immediate reason given as to why the incident wasn't reported until Sunday.

"Harry was about 100 yards away, looking for a lost bird," said Ms. Armstrong, who attended the hunt. "The vice president and another hunter had moved on toward another covey of quail.

"But Harry came up behind the vice president's party and didn't announce himself," she said. "The vice president was following the birds as he swung around and hit Harry. It's just good hunting protocol to let the other hunters know where you are."

Mr. Whittington was sprayed in the face, neck and upper chest with 28-gauge birdshot, Ms. Armstrong said. "He wasn't hit in the eyes or anything. It just knocked him down, but he never lost consciousness."

And medical attention was prompt.

"The vice president travels with a medical team, and they went to work immediately," Ms. Armstrong said. "The vice president was very concerned and very helpful. But Harry was in good spirits when the helicopters came to take him to the hospital."

Mr. Whittington was flown by medical helicopter first to Kingsville, then to the hospital in Corpus Christi.

A friend who has talked to family members said that Mr. Whittington was hit by about 50 birdshot pellets. Mr. Whittington underwent surgery Sunday morning to remove some of the pellets, and doctors have told his family that the shot apparently did not damage any major organs.

The hunters were wearing bright orange vests, Ms. Armstrong said. And Mr. Cheney had a valid hunting license, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Ms. Whittington got to see her father Sunday afternoon after the surgery. She said her father's face, "looks like chicken pox, kind of." She said that he was sitting up telling jokes. "He is so lucky, it's a miracle," she said.

She said her father doesn't recall much of the incident other than it was sunset and he thinks that maybe the setting sun may have made him difficult to spot by the other hunters.

"He is very, very lucky that nothing seriously was injured," she said, adding that Mr. Whittington will be out of ICU by today and that he is being observed because of swelling from some of the welts on his neck.

"It was accidental, a hunting accident," said Ramon Salinas III, Kenedy County sheriff, adding that the Secret Service notified him Saturday of the incident. "They did what they had to according to law."

President Bush, who was at the White House over the weekend, was informed about the incident after it happened Saturday by Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and was updated on Sunday, press secretary Scott McClellan said.

Previous hunts

It's not the first time the vice president's hunts have resulted in controversy.

In 2003, animal rights advocates denounced as slaughter a pheasant hunt by Mr. Cheney, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and a handful of other Texas Republicans who killed hundreds of the birds at a private game reserve in Pennsylvania. The birds had been released from nets.

And in 2004, a brouhaha ensued over a Cheney duck hunting trip in Louisiana with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The two men are friends and hunting buddies, but some legal scholars questioned the propriety of the trip because the high court had just agreed to hear the vice president's appeal of a spat over his involvement in administration energy policy.

Justice Scalia denied any conflict of interest or other wrongdoing.

The president himself had his own hunting incident, although not as serious a mishap. In 1994, when he was running for governor against then-incumbent Ann Richards, Mr. Bush went dove hunting for the cameras in Hockley, northwest of Houston, and shot what he thought was a dove.

The one bird he did hit turned out to be the protected killdeer. He reported the incident to the local game warden and paid a $130 fine.

The vice president is an avid fisherman and hunter, pursuing quail, pheasant, ducks, doves and other wildlife. His personal travel schedules are not disclosed in advance by the White House, and many times residents learn of his arrival when Air Force Two touches down at a local airport.

He travels to the Armstrong Ranch about once a year to hunt and is a "very safe sportsman," Ms. Armstrong said.

Mr. Whittington is also an avid hunter, but this appears to be the first time he and the vice president have hunted together, Ms. Armstrong said.

"This is not something you ever want to see happen, but the press has made a lot more of it than it actually is," Ms. Armstrong said. "I've been shot with birdshot myself."

Mr. Whittington, a Republican, has been a prominent lawyer in Austin and has been a trusted confidant of Govs. Bill Clements and George W. Bush, who called upon him to tackle troubled agencies.

He has gained a reputation as a person of integrity who can patch problems.

In the 1980s, he was a reformer appointed to the Texas Board of Corrections during a time federal courts had taken over the prison system after declaring it unconstitutional. The board was overseeing a state prison system that lacked basic medical care, subjected offenders to brutal punishments and used inmates to beat other prisoners and enforce rules.

Mr. Whittington became a voice on the board for restoring order and discipline.

He also served on the Texas Bond Review Board and Texas Public Finance Authority, overseeing the fees, structure and legal process associated with state bond issues. He was known to challenge law fees and demand accountability.

And, in 1999, Mr. Bush appointed Mr. Whittington to head the funeral services board.

A 1950 graduate of the University of Texas law school, Mr. Whittington has been a practicing lawyer in Austin who has accumulated substantial investments and real estate holdings. For the past several years, he has been fighting – and beating – city hall. The city of Austin has attempted to build a parking lot by condemning a city block owned by Mr. Whittington's family for 25 years. Recent court judgments have held that Mr. Whittington is due millions more than the city has been willing to pay.

Staff writer G. Robert Hillman in Washington contributed to this report with David McLemore reporting in San Antonio and Christy Hoppe reporting in Austin. The Associated Press also contributed this story.

E-mail dmclemore@dallasnews.com and choppe@dallasnews.com

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