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kaylin gillis: New Information Regarding the Woman’s Deadly Shooting in the Wrong Driveway in Upstate

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HEBRON, N.Y. — Residents in this small upstate town had long described a man living atop its ridge as an unpleasant character who barked at neighbor’s dogs, disapproved of a local church and was so sensitive about unannounced visitors that at one point used chain to block off his quarter-mile-long drive.

On Saturday night at just before 10 p.m., Kaylin Gillis and several of her friends were traveling in a caravan of two cars and a motorcycle when they inadvertently drove up an unexpected driveway, searching for someone’s house when gunshot rang out, shooting Kaylin to death at age 20.

kaylin gillis
kaylin gillis

At around 8 PM on a warm but overcast and dark evening, three vehicles turned off a highway onto Kevin Monahan’s 65-year-old road, passing multiple homes along its length.

As soon as they took a right into his drive, where there is a tree with two worn “private property” signs and one worn “private drive” sign warning off trespassers.

On Tuesday, a nearby resident who declined to provide his name due to the sensitive nature of this incident and investigation observed vehicles ascend the steep drive with their lights illuminated before seeing a motorcycle turn and start its descent down it.

He then heard a gunshot, followed by several seconds of silence, followed by another sound that may have been fireworks exploding nearby. Finally, another gunshot rang out – although initially his wife thought it might have been fireworks as well.

“One of our neighbors down the hill called and asked if we heard any gunfire,” according to one resident. “And we replied ‘We did hear something’.”

He immediately called 911, but as is typical in such difficult areas, those same police officers initially went up the wrong driveway – prompting him to contact 911 again. “It’s difficult to navigate here without being familiar,” he noted.

Ms. Gillis’ death sent shockwaves through the neighborhood and left people across the nation wondering about another seemingly senseless gun death.

Mr. Monahan was charged with second-degree murder following an attack that Washington County sheriff Jeffrey J. Murphy described as unprovoked and unexplained.

On Tuesday, he stated, “there was no threat.” They had planned on leaving.

It follows just days after Ralph Yarl, 16, was shot and badly injured after mistakenly going to an incorrect house while trying to collect his brothers from their friend’s residence on Thursday evening in Kansas City. Although he survived but suffered severe injuries.

As opposed to that incident, what took place in Hebron did not involve race: both Ms. Gillis and Mr. Monahan were white; yet the aggressive encounter and realization that an innocent wrong turn resulted in fatal violence left many shocked and wondering why Mr. Monahan took such drastic actions.

“I can’t comprehend that someone living next door would do such an act,” stated Adam Matthews who lives next door to Mr. Monahan. “I don’t understand what motivates someone to rise so far in their pursuits.”

Sheriff Murphy states that Ms. Gillis was one of four passengers in the final vehicle to turn around and was sitting in the front passenger seat when Mr. Monahan shot through the rear driver side window and hit her in her right arm.

“They all were still close to the house when they heard two gunshots, realizing immediately that she had been shot,” according to DeLuca. They quickly made plans to leave the driveway as soon as they heard she had been injured and began fleeing immediately.

Cars quickly scattered, searching desperately for cell service amidst Washington County, which borders Vermont. After five miles they finally located one near a cemetery.

Sheriff Murphy reported that Mr. Monahan initially proved uncooperative when police arrived at his house, refusing to speak with investigators and instead hiring an attorney later that same evening before leaving his residence.

Kurt Mausert, however, countered this account on Tuesday by noting that two vehicles had sped quickly up his driveway with engines revving and lights flashing; this “certainly caused some level of alarm to an elderly gentleman who lived alone and had an elderly wife”.

“Is that an anxiety-inducing scenario?” Mr. Mausert posed the question. He noted, however, that it wasn’t simply about taking an unexpected turn and finding out later on that someone on his deck started blasting away so quickly after having taken that wrong turn – that wasn’t what actually occurred.”

Mr. Mausert noted that Mr. Monahan expressed deep sorrow for this tragedy, feeling terrible that there had been a fatality, yet was angered at Sheriff Scott for “acting as judge, jury and executioner.”

“Every time there’s tragedy and victims, everyone wants a villain. However, sometimes tragedies simply occur without anyone to blame – and this is one such instance.”

Sheriff Murphy stated in an interview that Ms. Gillis — a former competitive cheerleader, honor student and budding artist — was an “enchanting soul who dreamed of studying marine biology”.

“This is just a tragic situation,” said Mr. Chow.

Albert Weils, who lives three doors from Ms. Gillis’s Schuylerville home located about 25 miles southwest of Hebron, reported that her father Andy Gillis works at Washington County Correctional Facility as a correction officer.

“We never think about something like that happening around here,” Mr. Weils said, and noted, “it is an absolute shame.”

On Tuesday, Ms. Gillis’ family members were mostly silent. Jack Amodeo reported that they had huddled together, trying to make sense of what had occurred and process their grief at what had transpired. “This has really brought us all down,” said Amodeo.

Friends of the victim reported that she and others may have been on their way to a party hosted by other Schuylerville High School graduates when they entered an incorrect driveway. “There were friends from this community at that party,” noted Dallas Salls, a friend who works in a pizza place nearby the school.

Victoria Salls, 20, an acquaintance and former downstairs neighbor in Schuylerville who knew Ms. Gillis as “the glue to her family”, noted how this incident had made people fearful to visit someone’s doorstep or drive into someone’s driveway unexpectedly.

Ms. Salls noted there were similarities to the Kansas City case, noting Ralph Yarl had survived while Gillis is “never going home, she will never get the chance to see her sisters grow up, she will never know the joy that comes from that experience.”

Hebron, a town of around 1,800 residents located approximately 60 miles northeast of Albany, remembers Mr. Monahan as being dyspeptic and sometimes combative in nature.

Matthews noted how Monahan could be intimidating, often adopting an “imposing and righteous” posture, recalling an incident wherein a local church installed floodlights over a basketball court hundreds of feet away from his residence.

Mr. Monahan — who lives in a house featuring a porch and floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the valley below and church — suspects something is amiss in their neighborhood.

Mr. Matthews observed, “He felt they did it on purpose; after all, this is a church and not someone setting a spotlight up to highlight their house.”

Brian Campbell, the town supervisor, wrote on his blog post that the shooting had greatly disturbed their peaceful community.

“I can’t comprehend why someone would shoot at a car that is in their driveway if they don’t know the people inside of it.

Ed Shanahan and Chelsia Rose Marcius contributed reporting, while Kitty Bennett made important research contributions.

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