US woman shot dead with pistol by hunter who thought she was a deer
Shooting occurred after sunset, when it is illegal to hunt
A 43-year-old woman walking her dogs in a field in western New York was accidentally shot dead by a hunter who thought she was a deer, authorities said.
The Chautauqua County sheriff’s office said Rosemary Billquist, of Sherman, took her dogs for a walk in her home town near the Pennsylvania border around 5.30pm on Wednesday.
Deputies said Billquist was walking in a field when a man hunting nearby mistook her for a deer and shot her once with a pistol.
The hunter heard her scream, called 911 and stayed with her until emergency crews arrived. Billquist was taken to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, where she was pronounced dead.
Officials said the shooting occurred about 40 minutes after sunset, when it is illegal to hunt. Police said the hunter had not been charged and the investigation was continuing.
The victim’s husband, Jamie Billquist, told the Buffalo News his wife was shot about 100 metres from their home.
“They tried saving her,” said Billquist.
“It was just too bad … It’s horrific. It will be with me the rest of my life.”
Friends and family held a memorial on Thursday night outside the hospital where Rosemary Billquist worked. She also volunteered at a local hospice.
“She was always out to help somebody,” her husband said.
“She never wanted credit and was always quiet about it.”
Dale Dunkelberger, master instructor for firearms for the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation’s hunter education programme, told the Buffalo News shooting after hours and not properly identifying a target were a recipe for tragedy.
“Hunters have to understand there are other people using trails, using parks in areas where we as sportsmen hunt,” said Dunkelberger.
“In this case, he shouldn’t have been out there hunting after sunset. You’re done. That’s the law.”
Dunkelberger said using a pistol to shoot deer was permissible.