On the day before Thanksgiving, Rosemary Billquist, 43, was walking dogs in a field in the evening when she was shot by a hunter who evidently mistook her for a deer. The Department of Environmental Conservation announced that the hunter has been indicted on a charge of second-degree manslaughter, which carries a prison term of 5 to 15 years. Following is the DEC news release.
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos, Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick E. Swanson and Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace announced today that the man who shot and killed a woman walking her dogs in a field behind her Sherman home last week has been indicted.
Thomas B. Jadlowski, 34, of Sherman, surrendered himself to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office in connection with the Nov. 22 incident in which he allegedly opened fire on what he thought was a deer but turned out to be his neighbor. Jadlowski was arraigned today in Chautauqua County Court on a two-count indictment alleging manslaughter in the 2nd degree and hunting after legal hours.
“Today, Mr. Jadlowski is being held accountable for his dangerous and reckless conduct when he fired a shot in the dark, causing this terrible tragedy,” Commissioner Seggos said. “I commend the work of our Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs), the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson for their professionalism and careful handling of this case. I hope this sends a loud and clear message that illegal hunting after sunset is dangerous and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
On the day before Thanksgiving, DEC ECOs and Chautauqua County Sheriff’s responded to a call of a hunting-related shooting incident just after 5:20 p.m., well beyond the legal close of the daily hunting period at sunset.
Rosemary Billquist, 43, of Sherman, was struck in the hip by a bullet fired by Jadlowski. After firing the shot, hearing a scream and finding Billquist, Jadlowski called 911. Members of the Sherman Stanley Hose Company Volunteer Fire Department responded within minutes of the shooting to find Ms. Billquist unresponsive about 150 yards behind her home. She was immediately transported to UPMC Hamot medical center in Erie, Pennsylvania, but later succumbed to her injuries.
“Like the rest of Chautauqua County, Sherman has many responsible hunters, and having grown up in Sherman myself, I know many families where hunting is a family affair,” DA Swanson said. “Responsible hunting is paramount to the safety of anyone enjoying the outdoors. This incident is a tragic reminder of the importance that hunting laws be followed. This incident was completely avoidable. My sincerest condolences go out to the Billquist and Jafarjian families.”
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Rosemary Billquist. This tragic event should never have happened. I am pleased that through the efforts of the Sheriff’s Office, the DEC, and the District Attorney’s Office, we have charged the defendant whose reckless actions resulted in the death of an innocent woman.”
Jadlowski, of Sherman, entered a plea of not guilty in Chautauqua Court in front of Judge David W. Foley. Bail was set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 property. Jadlowski is due back in court on Jan. 29, 2018 for motions. The charges carry a potential state prison sentence of 5 to 15 years.