THE NEW YORK TIMES
Harry Whittington, a wealthy and well-connected lawyer who gained sudden global fame as the unintended victim of a shotgun blast by former Vice President Dick Cheney, died early Saturday morning, his wife said. He was 95.
Mr. Whittington typified the breed of Texan known as the good ol’ boy, a traditional Lone Star tribute to wit, understatement and loyalty.
He regularly played cards with a nonagenarian former Texas Supreme Court chief judge and enjoyed a bantering relationship with President George W. Bush. He died peacefully at home, his wife said on Sunday.
His strong Republican connections led to his hunting on a Texas ranch with a group that included Mr. Cheney, whom Mr. Whittington had before met only briefly.
In the encroaching dusk of Feb. 11, 2006, Mr. Cheney abruptly wheeled around to shoot a quail, and instead shot Mr. Whittington in his face and upper body. He suffered scores of gunshot wounds.
The story seized the nation’s attention as two eyewitnesses and a White House spokesman blamed Mr. Whittington for the accident, saying he stepped into Mr. Cheney’s line of fire. Texas authorities cited Mr. Cheney only for the offense of not having a proper game stamp on his hunting license.
But at the time and later, hunting experts questioned whether the vice president had followed proper safety procedures and had heeded a shooter’s obligation to know what is in front of him before pulling the trigger.
Many were surprised — late-night comedians were delighted — when Mr. Whittington, not Mr. Cheney, apologized for the incident.
Mr. Cheney acknowledged only that he was responsible for pulling the trigger …