(Reuters) - A Vermont hunter fatally shot a companion by accident while deer hunting and shot himself because he was so distraught, police said on Monday.
Timothy Bolognani, 49, killed himself on Saturday after accidentally shooting Benjamin Birch, 39, said Vermont State Police investigators.
Bolognani, Birch and a third man were hunting in woods in Readsboro, Vermont, they said.
The chain of events began when Birch shot at a deer, which ran into the woods and the men tracked it, police said.
Bolognani fired his rifle and heard Birch cry out, the police said in a statement.
Bolognani and the third hunter, Mark Colson, discovered Birch shot and lying on the ground, according to police.
Birch died at the scene, and Bolognani used his rifle to fatally shoot himself, police said.
Bolognani was the son of former Vermont state Representative Betty Bolognani, and his death was the second tragedy to befall the family in recent years.
His 18-year-old daughter, Jessica, was killed in a snowmobile accident in the Readsboro area in January 2010.
The dead hunters were taken to the chief medical examiner in Burlington, Vermont for autopsies.
Police said there was no evidence of foul play.
"From my office's perspective, it is deemed to be a homicide, only because he was shot by another (man). But it doesn't associate any level of intent," said Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage.
"But that doesn't say it's not a tragic accident. They are not mutually exclusive," Marthage said.