The police chief of a small Tennessee town fatally shot his life-long best friend in what appears to be a tragic hunting accident, according to local authorities.

Monteagle Police Chief Virgil McNeese was turkey hunting Thursday near the Alabama border when he accidentally shot his hunting partner, WRCB reported.

The two men were hunting in a pasture in Richard City well known by locals as a prime spot to hunt wild turkeys when the shooting occurred.

A chopper airlifted Stanley “Ramsay” Whitten to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Doctors removed him from life support Friday when it was determined he was brain dead. Whitten's son, who reportedly was on the turkey hunt, ran to a nearby home to get help after the shooting, WRCB said.

"Our hearts are with the families and everyone affected; it was a terrible thing to see," Adam Higgins told the station. Higgins lives across the street from the pasture and heard the fatal shot.

WRCB reported that Marion County District Attorney Mike Taylor said it was too early to say whether McNeese could face criminal charges. McNeese has been a member of the Monteagle Police Department for 19 years. He has been the chief since 2006.

The station also said that a cousin of Whitten had only good things to say about McNeese, but questioned how a veteran law enforcement officer could shoot and kill his best friend.