Upstate DA: Fatal shooting of hunter from LI 'appears accidental'

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An upstate hunting accident in which a Franklin Square man was fatally shot in the chest appears to be accidental, the local district attorney said Monday.

Charles Bruce, 52, was shot about 10:20 a.m. Saturday on the opening day of the deer-hunting season in a wooded area along Steve Braun Road in Westford, not far from Oneonta, state police said.

Otsego County District Attorney John M. Muehl declined to give specifics about the continuing investigation.

"It appears accidental, but that does not mean it is not criminal," Muehl said. "It is very possible that this case will be presented to a grand jury."

Police said the state Department of Environmental Conservation was assisting in the shooting investigation.

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DEC declined to comment on the investigation. The agency said that for the past five years there are slightly more than 28 shooting incidents involving three fatalities during the average hunting season. Of the 24 shooting incidents in 2012, 13 were self-inflicted, DEC said.

Police said Bruce died at the scene.

With John Valenti

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly stated that Bruce's weapon discharged.

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