No charges for Cheney for accidental shooting

An investigation into US Vice President Dick Cheney’s accidental shooting of a hunting partner has been closed and police say no charges will be filed.

The Texas sheriff’s department dealing with the case issued a report that largely supports the Vice President’s account of the weekend accident that wounded 78-year-old lawyer Harry Whittington.

Mr Whittington, interviewed in the hospital, assured investigators no one was drinking when the accident occurred and everyone was wearing bright orange safety gear, according to the report.

Whittington was hit in the face and chest on Saturday while hunting quail with Cheney on a ranch in South Texas. He is in a Corpus Christi, Texas, hospital in stable condition after suffering a mild heart attack caused by a pellet that travelled to his heart.

Gilberto San Miguel Jr, an investigator, interviewed Cheney at the ranch a day after the shooting.

The vice president said the sun was setting when Whittington fired at some quail and went to find his downed birds, according to the report.

Cheney said he walked about 100 yards and met up with the hunting guide. He said a bird flew behind him, and he followed it in a counterclockwise direction, not realising Mr Whittington had walked up behind him to rejoin the group.

He said Mr Whittington was about 30 yards away, on lower ground, when he fired his shotgun.

“Mr. Cheney told me if Mr. Whittington was on the same ground level the injuries might have been lower on Mr Whittington’s body,” the investigator reported.

Doctors have said Mr Whittington will probably remain in hospital until next week.

Mr Whittington said the shooting “was just an accident,” and he was concerned all the media attention would give hunting in Texas a bad image, the report said.

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