A husband has been left to grieve this holiday season after his wife was accidentally shot and killed by a man who was hunting for deer.
Rosemary “Rosie” Billquist, 43, was shot dead in her backyard after her neighbor mistook her for a deer while she was walking her two dogs. Thomas B. Jadlowski, 34, was taken into police custody and has been cooperating with investigators after he fired a single shot in the direction of Billquist. Police say he rushed to her side and awaited the arrival of emergency personnel. She later died at a medical facility.
Billquist is being remembered by friends, family and colleagues as a genuinely caring person who always sought out positive things in life.
Here’s what you need to know about Billquist and the shooting incident:
1. Jadlowski Was Hunting in His Backyard for Deer When He Shot Billquist
Jadlowski, a neighbor of the Billquists, was hunting in his backyard, a rural area, about one hour after sunset (a time when it’s illegal to hunt in New York). He told police that at one point, he noticed something he presumed to be a deer move about 200 yards away. Jadlowski fired a single shot in the direction of the movement, and suddenly heard a scream. He had just shot Billquist, who was out in the area walking her dogs.
Jadlowski ran out to an injured Billquist to help, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Upon reaching her, he realized that she’d been shot and he called 911, applying pressure on her wound until paramedics arrived in the wooded area.
Officials said that the single bullet went through her hip and exited out of her back. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Jadlowski hasn’t yet been charged in the shooting incident and has been cooperating with investigators, officials said. The case is set to be reviewed by the district attorney’s office, which will determine if he will face criminal charges.
Sheriff Joe Gerace told The Buffalo News that Jadlowski used a “high-powered, single shot handgun,” one that’s often used to hunt deer.
2. Billquist & Her Husband Were Set to Participate in the ‘Turkey Trot’ the Next Day
Billquist and her 47-year-old husband, Jamie, had planned to take part in “one of their favorite traditions,” as The Washington Post reported, the Turkey Trot. It’s a festive run/walk that the couple had attended for years.
Jamie, who works as a sales rep for PepsiCo, told The Post that his wife got home from work at about 5 p.m. local time and left the home shortly after to walk their dogs, named Stella and Sugar. She went behind their home in Sherman, New York to walk them, and her husband stayed at home watching TV.
Minutes later, though, Jamie panicked as he heard the dogs barking loudly. They ran back to the house, and he called her cell phone. Rosie didn’t pick up, and he told The Post that he knew right away something happened to her.
“Maybe she fell,” he told the newspaper.
After hanging up the phone, though, he noticed ambulances showing up outside their home, and an EMT — who’s a friend of Rosies — ran into the field screaming that somebody had been shot. He found out just seconds after that it was his wife.
Jamie rode alongside his wife in the ambulance as they traveled to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. She was later pronounced dead at the medical facility.
“My life has changed,” Jamie told The Post. “Things are never going to be the same.”
Jamie told The Buffalo News that the couple knew the Jadlowski family and is at a loss to understand what transpired.
“I think he needs to learn a lesson,” he told the newspaper of Jadlowski. “There’s rules. You should abide by them … it’s disturbing. It’s a two-second decision that he’ll regret for the rest of his life.”
3. Rosie Volunteered at a Hospital & Loved the Outdoors
Jamie said he met Rosie in 1990 while at a mall. He approached her, and they’d been together ever since then. She was of Armenian heritage, and her maiden name was Jafarjian.
According to The Buffalo News, the couple lived in Jamestown and moved to Sherman about 10 years ago. Rosie had grown up in Sherman, and they rebuilt her family house. They didn’t have any children together, but had their two dogs and a cat.
Billquist loved the outdoors and was a runner and bicyclist. Jamie said that she ran close to 60 marathons, and traveling around the nation was something they enjoyed.
In her spare time, Rosie volunteered at Chautauqua Hospice as well as at WCA Hospital. At the hospital, she performed medical transcription and often worked with patients.
4. Colleagues & Friends Remembered Her at a Vigil
Jamie remembered his wife to The Buffalo News as being a loving woman who always had a smile on her face.
“She was always out to help somebody,” he told the newspaper. “She never wanted credit and was always quiet about it. She’s just an angel. An angel for sure.”
Jamie remembered one time when she noticed an elderly man struggling to stand up in the hospital parking lot, he told the newspaper. To help solve the problem, she took one of the benches from their home and put it in front of the hospital with a message reading: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
Rosie is being remembered by her friends and colleagues as a carding, devoted person. They decorated the bench that she donated to the hospital with lights and flowers in remembrance of her life while holding a vigil.
Rosie’s Facebook account said she graduated from James Business College and earned a degree in the medical field. She was a health information management specialist at WCA Hospital, a position she held since 1994.
According to her obituary, she had three brothers, a sister-in-law and multiple nieces and nephews.
5. Rosie Often Shared Inspirational & Positive Quotes About Life on her Facebook Page
Rosie often shared various inspirational, heartfelt quotes on her Facebook page.
On October 26, 2016, she shared a post encouraging people not to take life for granted because you never know what could happen to you.
Many people from across the globe have expressed sympathy to her husband and family on her Facebook page.
“It often seems that the best are taken too early while evil lives forever. Sad,” Brenda Shipman Gilliland of Charleston, South Carolina wrote. “Rosemary seems to be one of the “best”, a wonderful person inside and out. Seems like you two had the ideal life, still in love after so many years and still loving life together. Treasure every moment of the time you had together and let your memories comfort you now. My heart goes out to you.”
“I can’t even imagine your loss and your pain,” Marty and Faith Shackelford wrote. “Our family sends our love and our prayers for strength and comfort from your faith, your family, your friends, and all the rest of us who are pulling for you!”
A viewing is scheduled a the Spitzer Funeral Home in Sherman from 2-4 p.m. Tuesday with a funeral service being held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Sherman Community Church. Memorial contributions in her memory are asked to be made to the Stanley Hose Co., Chautauqua County Humane Society, Rescue Pups Inc., Friendship, N.Y., or Chautauqua Hospice & Palliative Care.