A 65-year-old northern New York man was hit with second-degree murder charges Monday after shooting and killing a woman whose group had mistakenly pulled into his driveway while looking for a friend’s house, according to authorities.
The Saturday night incident claimed the life of Kaylin Gillis, 20, who was a passenger in a car along with three other friends in the rural town of Hebron when Kevin Monahan walked out of his residence, walked to the side of his house and opened fire with two shots.
No one in the group had attempted to exit the car, let alone approach the house, when Monahan began shooting.
In a press conference Monday, Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy confirmed the group had driven their vehicle up the driveway of the residence and had realized their mistake when the shots were fired.
“They had gone to the scene in error,” Murphy said, adding that he wasn’t sure how far away they were from the friend’s house, but that they were “close.”
Gillis, from Schuylerville, New York, was struck by one round and the group in the vehicle fled the scene to the neighboring town of Salem, where her friends were able to call 911. “They were looking for help,” Murphy said.
When first responders arrived, they began CPR on the 20-year-old but were unable to save her and she was pronounced deceased at the scene, a statement confirmed.
After police arrived at Monahan’s residence, “he was not cooperative, he would not talk to patrols,” Murphy said, adding that “we had a bit of a situation there” after he refused to exit his home.
It took approximately an hour of negotiations through a 911 dispatcher and on the scene for police to take him safely into custody. He has been booked into the Warren County jail on a charge of second-degree murder and will face court “in the near future.”
Monahan, police said, is a laborer by trade and has lived at the house for “many years.”
“This is a very sad case of some young adults who were looking for a friend’s house and ended up this man’s house,” Murphy said.
It is unclear if there was any interaction between the group in the car and Monahan during the shooting. Police said they believe the group was in the driveway for “a very short time.”
Police would not reveal the type of weapon used in the shooting or if other firearms had been discovered inside the property.
Monahan, police said, has not spoken to investigators about a motive for the shooting.
“She was an innocent young girl who was out with friends looking for another friend’s house,” Murphy continued, adding he knows the Gillis family personally. “I know for a fact she comes from a very good family. She was a young girl that was taken way too young.”
“There was clearly no threat from anyone in the vehicle. There was no reason for Mr. Monahan to feel threatened, especially as it appears the vehicle was leaving.”
A statement on behalf of the Gillis family posted on the GoFundMe fundraiser reads: “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 news comes on the heels of the arrest of an elderly white Kansas City homeowner who shot Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old honors student twice after going to the wrong house while trying to pick up his younger siblings. Andrew Lester will face two felony charges in the matter, prosecutors said Monday. Yarl survived the incident.