Elderly farmer believed to have accidentally shot and killed his neighbor and friend having mistaken him for burglars on his isolated Ballyhaunis farm

An elderly man is believed to have shot and killed his friend and neighbor near Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, believing he was being targeted by a rural crime gang. 

Brendan Kilduff (67) was shot, by Martin Caulfield (85), in the chest. The elderly farmer had mistaken him for a burglar.

Kilduff is believed to have been visiting with Caulfield just minutes before the incident occurred. It's thought he was visiting to discuss the sale of a tractor and other farming equipment.

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Caulfield lives alone on an isolated farm in Coogue, near Aghamore, Ballyhaunis. On Tuesday night, at 11.55 pm, he reportedly heard his dogs barking. He was in bed at the time. 

He then noticed that his security lights had been triggered outside. He grabbed his firearm and went downstairs. 

Once outside, the Irish Sun reports, that he shouted a warning and opened fire. 

Funeral arrangements have been announced for Brendan Kilduff, who died tragically after being shot on Tuesday nighthttps://t.co/lqYsjlsXxu

— Western People (@WesternPeople) September 19, 2019

Kilduff got into his car and drove off. Caulfield fired another warning shot at the vehicle. It then crashed into a ditch 100 yards from the farm. 

The Irish Independent reported, "The man who was arrested is understood to have seen car lights outside his house and fired shots from his home as a warning, possibly thinking there were intruders on his property."

Caulfield, the shooter, alerted the police when he found Kilduff slumped at the wheel.

The Garda Technical Bureau arriving at the scene of last night's fatal shooting in the townland of Coogue near Ballyhaunis in Co Mayo. A man aged in his 60s was shot dead. Another elderly man in his 80s is in garda custody. pic.twitter.com/eBkcjSnuvU

— John Hand (@johnhand_) September 18, 2019

Kilduff was pronounced dead at the screen. Caulfield was arrested and brought to the Claremorris Garda (Irish police) station for questioning. 

He was released without charge and a file will not be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

What exactly happened on the isolated farm is yet to be revealed. 

A source told the Sun, "Properties in this area have been targeted by burglary gangs in the past and there is still a sense of fear out there.

“Both men would have been known to each other and there is a suspicion that the homeowner mistakenly thought he was being targeted by an intruder.

“This is a very sad and tragic case because on the one hand who have an elderly gentleman terrified of people coming to house and another man losing his life.

“This is such a tragic accident with two lives being ruined.”

Another source told the Sun that Kilduff has been visiting with Caulfield but when he'd tried to leave he had car troubles. When he returned to Caulfield's house he had a hat on and torch lit and Caulfield did not recognize his friend. 

They said, “He had been in there and they were chatting.

“Brendan had left and came back after problems with his car, but he was wearing a cap with a light on it and Martin didn’t recognize him.

“It’s one of those very unfortunate things.”

A Garda spokesman said: “Gardaí in Castlebar investigating the fatal shooting of the man at Aghamore, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo on September 17, 2019, have released without charge the arrested man (80s), this evening Wednesday 18th September 2019 and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

"The post mortem has been completed, and the results will not be released for operational reasons.

"Investigations ongoing."

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