02/15/2006 AT 3:45 PM ET
Vice President Dick Cheney has taken full responsibility for the accidental shooting of his hunter partner, 78-year-old lawyer Harry Whittington.
“Ultimately I’m the guy who pulled the trigger, that fired the round that hit Harry,” Cheney said in his first interview since the incident, with Fox News’s Brit Hume. “I’m the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend.”
Doctors announced yesterday that Whittington, who has been hospitalized since the accident over the weekend, suffered a “silent heart attack,” after one of the bird shots that is lodged in his body migrated to his heart.
In describing the incident, Cheney says, “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.”
Katharine Armstrong, whose family owns the 50,000-acre Armstrong Ranch, where the accident occurred, told the New York Times that Whittington “did not announce” his presence to the vice president “so when a bird flushed and the vice president swung in to shoot it, Harry was where the bird was.”
But Cheney tells Hume: “It was not Harry’s fault. You cannot blame anybody else.”
On Wednesday doctors at Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas said of Whittington: “He’s doing extremely well.”
Earlier in the week, Cheney’s office issued a statement saying the vice president had called Whittington to check on him. “The vice president said that his thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Whittington and his family,” the statement read.