A 20-year-old woman was shot and killed Saturday after she and three others accidentally turned into the wrong driveway while looking for a friend’s house in rural upstate New York, authorities said.
The young woman, identified as Kaylin Gillis, was struck by gunfire as a man fired two shots from his front porch, one of which hit the vehicle she was in, Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy said in a news conference Monday.
The man, 65-year-old Kevin Monahan, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her death, Murphy said Monday. It is unclear whether Monahan has retained an attorney yet.
“It’s a very rural area with dirt roads. It’s easy to get lost. They drove up this driveway for a very short time, realized their mistake and were leaving, when Mr. Monahan came out and fired two shots,” Murphy said, adding that the area has poor cell phone service.
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The shooting happened just days after a Black teenager in Kansas City was shot twice by a White homeowner after going to the wrong address to pick up his siblings. No words were exchanged before Andrew Lester opened fire on 16-year-old Ralph Yarl as the teen stood at Lester’s front door, according to a probable cause document obtained by CNN. Lester, who told police he thought the teen was trying to break in, faces two felony charges in the case, which has reignited the debate over so-called “stand your ground” laws.
After the shots were fired in New York, Gillis and the rest of the group drove away from the house in the town of Hebron looking for cell phone service, and then called 911.
They were found around 5 miles away from the home in the nearby town of Salem. First responders began administering CPR but Gillis was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene, Murphy said.
Police officers later responded to the home from which shots were fired and found Monahan to be uncooperative, Murphy said, adding he “refused to exit his residence to speak with police.”
He was taken into custody hours later with help from the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team, according to a press release from the Washington County Sheriff’s office.
No one is believed to have exited the car and there was no interaction between Monahan and anyone in the vehicle before shots were fired, Murphy said.
“There was clearly no threat from anyone in the vehicle. There was no reason for Mr. Monahan to feel threatened,” Murphy said.
Monahan was in custody Monday and will have a court appearance “in the near future,” Murphy said.
“This is a very sad case of some young adults that were looking for a friend’s house and ended up at this man’s house who decided to come out with a firearm and discharge it,” the sheriff said.
Over $40,000 has been raised for Gillis’ family in a GoFundMe raising money for the “Gillis family for use toward Kaylin’s funeral expenses and any immediate financial needs,” according to the page.
“On behalf of the Gillis family, we would like to thank everyone who has offered their love and prayers as they embark on this incredibly difficult journey of grief and healing,” the GoFundMe page reads.
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