A 52-year-old Long Island, N.Y., firefighter was killed during a tragic hunting accident when a friend of his apparently mistook the man for a deer and shot and killed him.
The New York Daily News reports that Charles Bruce was on an annual hunting trip with friends from the Malverne Fire Department when the tragedy took place early on Saturday in rural Westford, N.Y., which is about 11 miles east of Cooperstown, law enforcement sources said.
"Charlie had a bad back, so he went back to his room to rest. And when he came back out, one guy saw a tree move and fired," a close friend of the victim, who asked to remain anonymous, told the New York Daily News.
"Unfortunately, it was a high-powered rifle. He was dead before he hit the ground," Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl stated.
CBS New York notes that Muehl said he’ll be convening a grand jury to consider homicide charges in the case, including criminally negligent homicide or reckless manslaughter.
"I feel terrible for the friend. He must feel horrible," Muehl said. "The last thing anyone wants to do is shoot his friend. But the first thing you're taught in hunter safety classes is that you never, ever pull the trigger until you know what you're shooting at."
The shooter was not immediately identified by state police.