Harry Whittington, 78, expresses sympathy for the vice president

By People Staff
February 17, 2006 01:00 PM

Making his first appearance since being shot by Vice President Dick Cheney during a quail-hunting outing over the weekend, Harry Whittington on Friday said the incident was an accident and expressed sympathy for Cheney.

“Accidents do and will happen – and that’s what’s happened last Friday,” said Whittington, 78, looking trim and fit, and dressed in a suit and tie, outside Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas.

“This past weekend encompassed all of us in a cloud of misfortune and sadness that is not easy to explain, especially to those who are not familiar with the great sport of quail hunting,” he said. “We all assume certain risks in whatever we do.”

Whittington did not get into the details of the shooting, but expressed gratitude to the medical staff who has been treating him and said of the vice president, “My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney has had to go through this past week.”

On Wednesday Cheney took full responsibility for the accident, saying: “Ultimately I’m the guy who pulled the trigger, that fired the round that hit Harry,” he told Fox News’s Brit Hume. “I’m the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend.”

Earlier in the week Whittington suffered a “silent heart attack,” after one of the bird shots that hit him migrated to his heart.

In describing the incident, Cheney said: “The image of (Harry) falling is something I’ll never be able get out of my mind It was one of the worst days of my life, at that moment.”

Whittington is expected to be released from the hospital today, according to his doctors.

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