Harry Whittington

Last updated
Harry Whittington
Born (1927-03-03) March 3, 1927 (age 92)
OccupationLawyer, real estate investor, political figure
Spouse(s)Mercedes Baker

Harry M. Whittington (born March 3, 1927) is an American lawyer, real estate investor, and political figure from Austin, Texas, who received international media attention following an incident on February 11, 2006, when he was shot in the face by Vice President Dick Cheney while hunting quail with two women on a ranch in Kenedy County, Texas, near Corpus Christi. [1]

Law of the United States Overview of United States law

The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, the supreme of which is the United States Constitution, the foundation of the federal government of the United States. The Constitution sets out the boundaries of federal law, which consists of Acts of Congress, treaties ratified by the Senate, regulations promulgated by the executive branch, and case law originating from the federal judiciary. The United States Code is the official compilation and codification of general and permanent federal statutory law.

Real estate is "property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real property, buildings or housing in general. Also: the business of real estate; the profession of buying, selling, or renting land, buildings, or housing." It is a legal term used in jurisdictions whose legal system is derived from English common law, such as India, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, United States, Canada, Pakistan, Australia, and New Zealand.

Politics of the United States Political system of the United States of America

The United States is a federal republic in which the president, Congress and federal courts share powers reserved to the national government, according to its Constitution. The federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments.


Government service

Over the years, he has been appointed to several committees and commissions, including the Office of Patient Protection Executive Committee (a committee formed by the governor of Texas to ensure the rights of patients), the Texas Public Finance Authority Board, and the Texas Department of Corrections. In the 1980s, as an appointee of Gov. Bill Clements, he was instrumental in bringing about reforms necessary for Texas to comply with a federal court order that found the state's treatment of its prisoners unconstitutional. [2] Whittington was named presiding officer of the Texas Funeral Service Commission after a major shakeup of the agency in 1999. He was appointed by then-Texas Governor George W. Bush and re-appointed in 2002 by Governor Rick Perry. [3]

Bill Clements American businessman, politician and former Governor of Texas

William Perry Clements Jr. was twice governor of Texas as a Republican. After making his fortune in crude oil, Clements also served as Deputy Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Board of Governors at Southern Methodist University.

Governor of Texas head of state and of government of the U.S. state of Texas

The Governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature. The governor may grant pardons in cases other than impeachment or in the case of treason, with permission by the legislature. The current Governor is Greg Abbott.

George W. Bush 43rd president of the United States

George Walker Bush is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He had previously served as the 46th governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.

Land dispute

In 2000, Whittington began fighting a legal case involving the eminent domain seizure of a city block of property he owned in Austin. In 2013, after various court proceedings, a Texas district court awarded the title of the property to the city of Austin and ordered the city to pay Whittington $10,500,000 in compensation for the property. [4] [ non-primary source needed ]

Eminent domain, land acquisition, compulsory purchase, resumption, resumption/compulsory acquisition (Australia), or expropriation is the power of a state, provincial, or national government to take private property for public use. However, this power can be legislatively delegated by the state to municipalities, government subdivisions, or even to private persons or corporations, when they are authorized by the legislature to exercise the functions of public character.

Hunting incident

On Saturday, February 11, 2006, Whittington was accidentally shot by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney during a quail hunting trip, at a ranch in south Texas. Most of the damage from the shotgun blast was to the right side of his body, including damage to his face, chest, and neck, and he had a collapsed lung. He was taken to Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital by ambulance and put into intensive care. The accident was not announced in the news media until the White House confirmed the incident to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times approximately 12 hours after the incident. [5]

Dick Cheney 46th Vice President of the United States

Richard Bruce Cheney is an American politician and businessman who served as the 46th vice president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He has been cited as the most powerful vice president in American history. He was also one of the most unpopular politicians in the history of the US, holding an approval rating of just 13% at the time of leaving office.

New World quail family of birds

The New World quails or Odontophoridae are small birds only distantly related to the Old World quail, but named for their similar appearance and habits. The American species are in their own family Odontophoridae, whereas Old World quail are in the pheasant family Phasianidae. The family ranges from Canada through to southern Brazil, and two species, the California quail and the bobwhite quail, have been successfully introduced to New Zealand. The stone partridge and Nahan's partridge, both found in Africa, seem to belong to the family. Species are found across a variety of habitats from tropical rainforest to deserts, although few species are capable of surviving at very low temperatures. Thirty-four species are placed in ten genera.

Shotgun Smoothbore firearm

A shotgun is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug. Shotguns come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 5.5 mm (.22 inch) bore up to 5 cm (2.0 in) bore, and in a range of firearm operating mechanisms, including breech loading, single-barreled, double or combination gun, pump-action, bolt-, and lever-action, revolver, semi-automatic, and even fully automatic variants.

On February 14, some of the lead birdshot lodged in Whittington's heart caused a minor heart attack. [6] [7] Doctors did not remove all the pellets from Whittington's body. They estimated that there were "less than 150 or 200" pellets lodged in his body immediately after the shooting, [8] and about 30 pieces of shot were expected to remain inside him for the rest of his life. [7] On February 17, Whittington made a public statement that "We all assume certain risks in whatever we do. Whatever activities we pursue and regardless of how experienced, careful and dedicated we are, accidents do and will happen." [9] After being released from the hospital, he apologized to the Vice President and his family: "My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through this week." [7]

Myocardial infarction Interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart

Myocardial infarction (MI), also known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow decreases or stops to a part of the heart, causing damage to the heart muscle. The most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort which may travel into the shoulder, arm, back, neck or jaw. Often it occurs in the center or left side of the chest and lasts for more than a few minutes. The discomfort may occasionally feel like heartburn. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling faint, a cold sweat or feeling tired. About 30% of people have atypical symptoms. Women more often present without chest pain and instead have neck pain, arm pain or feel tired. Among those over 75 years old, about 5% have had an MI with little or no history of symptoms. An MI may cause heart failure, an irregular heartbeat, cardiogenic shock or cardiac arrest.

Following the incident, Whittington returned to private life and refused many media offers for interviews. [7] In an October 2010 issue of the Washington Post , he broke his silence about the shooting. [7] Whittington told the paper that although many media outlets had described Cheney and him as "good friends", the pair had only met one another three times in 30 years, and had never been hunting before. [10] The Washington Post article also said that Cheney had violated "two basic rules of hunting safety": he failed to ensure that he had a clear shot before firing, and fired without being able to see blue sky beneath his target. [10] The paper also reported that Cheney has still neither publicly nor privately apologized to Whittington for the shooting. [11]

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  1. "Texas Cops Release Cheney Shooting Report". The Smoking Gun. February 16, 2006.
  2. Kornblut, Anne (February 13, 2006). "Cheney Shoots Fellow Hunter in Mishap on a Texas Ranch". New York Times.
  3. Perry reappoints Whittington to funeral commission Austin Business Journal. 6 August 2002.
  4. "Whittington v. Austin". 456 S.W.3d 692 (Tex. App. 2015).
  5. Allen, Mike (February 13, 2006). "The Man Dick Cheney Shot". Time magazine.
  6. "Cheney shooting accident has political echoes". MSNBC.com. February 14, 2006.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Farhi, Paul (October 14, 2010). "Since Dick Cheney shot him, Harry Whittington's aim has been to move on". Washington Post. p. 1.
  8. Newman, Maria (February 14, 2006). "Hunter Shot by Cheney Suffers Mild Heart Attack". New York Times.
  9. "Man shot by Cheney: 'Accidents do and will happen'". CNN. February 20, 2006.
  10. 1 2 Farhi, Paul (October 14, 2010). "Since Dick Cheney shot him, Harry Whittington's aim has been to move on". Washington Post. p. 4.
  11. Farhi, Paul (October 14, 2010). "Since Dick Cheney shot him, Harry Whittington's aim has been to move on". Washington Post. p. 5.