Hunter Timothy Bolognani Took Own Life After Accidentally Shooting Best Friend, Vermont Cops Say

11/28/2011 12:38 pm ET

Vermont State Police say a distraught hunter took his own life on Saturday moments after fatally and unintentionally shooting his companion.

Benjamin Birch and Timothy Bolognani were hunting in the woods by Howe Pond Road in Readsboro, Vt., when tragedy struck, according to the Burlington Free Press.

The longtime friends began tracking a deer through the woods when Bolognani fired a rifle shot. Bolognani and another friend, Mark Colford, instantly heard Birch scream, local NBC affiliate WPTZ reports. When the 49-year-old Bolognani found Birch's body motionless on the ground, he "used his rifle to take his own life," police said.

Authorities responded to the reported hunting accident shortly after noon, when they discovered the bodies of Birch, 39, and Bolognani, MSNBC reports.

"These guys were best friends and professional hunters," Birch's grieving mother, Jacqueline Clara Howe, told the Boston Herald.

In January 2010, the Bolognani faced additional tragedy, when Timothy's 18-year-old daughter, Jessica, died in a fatal snowmobile accident.

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