By Jim Shilander
A husband and wife are dead following what authorities believe was a murder-suicide shooting at a boutique along San Clemente’s downtown Avenida Del Mar Saturday afternoon, officials have confirmed.
The deceased have been identified as 64-year-old Cynthia Jean Rosier and John Patrick Dillard, 59, both of San Clemente, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department coroners office.
Authorities responded to a shooting report at Bliss Boutique, located at 167 Avenida Del Mar, around 2 p.m. on Saturday. A store employee, who had made their way out the store’s back entrance, made the call on the business’ phone line, said Lt. Jeff Hallock, OCSD public relations officer.
Initially, SWAT personnel was dispatched because authorities believed their could have been an active shooter, Hallock confirmed. Upon entering the clothing boutique, sheriff’s officials discovered two dead adults, identified as Dillard and Rosier.
Rosier was the owner of Bliss Boutique.
Investigators believe Dillard entered the store with a handgun where he shot and killed Rosier before turning the weapon on himself. No other employees of the business were injured during the incident.
The incident sent officers into the street and weekend downtown shoppers and diners to take cover.
Juan Gomez was working behind the bar at Avila’s El Ranchito, across the intersection of Ola Vista and El Camino Real from the boutique, when he heard a final gunshot. The restaurant’s music had been turned off once patrons realized something was going on, he said.
Once officials arrived they told passersby to move away from the scene and restaurant patrons to move closed to the bar and away from windows, Gomez said.
San Clemente resident Jim Kirkwood was traveling down Avenida Del Mar just after the shooting was reported.
“I pulled off of El Camino Real and a (sheriff’s) motorcycle was right behind me. I thought I was getting a ticket,” Kirkwood said. “I saw a ton of people coming out of Bliss pointing police inside.”
Kirkwood pulled into a stall and went inside Jack’s Surfboards, across the street from Bliss, where he stayed and witnessed police draw their firearms and go into the shop. He said was prepared to cover himself in case a suspect came out of the shop.
Anyone with information is asked to call OCSD at 714.647.7000. Anonymous tips can also be submitted at 855.TIP.OCCS or at occrimestoppers.com.
Andrea Papagianis contributed to this report.