Woman walking dogs is fatally shot after hunter mistakes her for deer

Rosemary Billquist in a photo from WIVB-TV

TOWN OF SHERMAN, N.Y. (WIVB) — State and local authorities are investigating a fatal accidental shooting in the Town of Sherman.

Chautauqua County Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters responded to a report of an accidental shooting in the area of 2998 Armenian Road in the Town of Sherman Wednesday evening around 5:30.

Deputies say 43-year-old Rosemary A. Billquist of Sherman was shot once by a male hunter while walking her dogs.

Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says the hunter, who has not been charged, mistook Billquist for a deer and shot her once with a pistol.

The hunter rushed over to Billquist when he heard a scream, and stayed with her until paramedics arrived.

Billquist was taken to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania where she was pronounced dead.

Billquist’s husband, Jaime, describes Rosemary as an “angel” taken too soon. He says she volunteered at a hospice and often helped senior citizens.

Billquist was an avid marathon runner and a bicyclist which Jaime says was her passion.

After 27 years of marriage, Jaime says he will miss their laughs together the most.

“She was like an angel, she would help anybody and do anything you know for anybody before she would do anything for herself. It’s too bad because she could’ve really made a difference in a lot more people’s lives in just the short time she was here, obviously she touched a lot of lives,” said Billquist.

An investigation revealed that the man fired the shot after sunset, which is the legal limit to hunt deer.

The man is cooperating with the investigation. At this time, no charges have been filed, but the case will be reviewed by the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office for a determination on whether he may face criminal charges.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police is also investigating. Gerace says the agency looks into hunting accidents and is assisting in crime scene reconstruction.

Gerace said it’s a hunter’s responsibility to not hunt once the sun has set.

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