Charles Bruce, 52, was killed when he and the shooter, who's name hasn't been released, were on an annual trip in Westford, NY. The shooter allegedly thought Bruce was a deer when he pulled the trigger.
Prosecutors told The Daily News that they've gathered evidence that will be presented to the Grand Jury in about a month. The shooter is facing charges of criminally negligent homicide or recklessness, they said.
“His excuse was that he didn't see well. He thought he saw an antler," Otsego County District Attorney Muehl said of the shooter. "I've never seen a human look like a deer, ever."
He added that no evidence was found to suggest drugs or alcohol played a role in the Nov. 16 incident, and if the shooter has a clean record, he could be given a no-jail plea-deal.
"I'm sorry, but I lost my son," Bruce's mom Yvonne told The Daily News. "He was only 52. How can you make such a silly mistake? His kids will never have their father again, and he'll never get to see his grandchildren. It hurts."
From The Daily News:
The shooter's high-powered rifle had a scope, so it's possible he saw the branch pattern [on Bruce's camouflage coveralls] and "mistook" it for antlers when he pulled the trigger, killing Bruce instantly, Coroner James Dow said Friday.
“The last thing anyone wants to do is shoot his friend," Muehl said. "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."