More Details Emerge on Fatal Driveway Shooting

Lawyer for shooter Kevin Monahan blames 'series of tragic mistakes'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2023 11:34 AM CDT
More Details Emerge on Fatal Driveway Shooting
Kevin Monahan.   (Washington County Sheriff via AP)

More details are emerging in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis in upstate New York, with the shooter's attorney pushing back against emerging narratives about his client. The details:

  • The shooting: On Saturday night, Gillis was in a vehicle with three friends when they took a wrong turn and went up a rural driveway in Hebron, New York, reports the AP. Police say homeowner Kevin Monahan shot at the vehicle, and one bullet struck Gillis in the neck. One other car and a motorcycle in their group also made the wrong turn. Monahan, 65, has been charged with second-degree murder.
  • Mistake: "We thought we were at the right address," Gillis' boyfriend, 19-year-old Blake Walsh, tells NBC News. "We didn't have any cell service to figure it out. As soon as we figured it out that we were at the wrong location, we started to leave, and that's when everything happened." Walsh was driving the vehicle. "My friend said, 'They're shooting—go!' I tried to step on the gas as fast as I could, and that's when the fatal shot came through."

  • Shooter's side: Monahan's attorney, Kurt Mausert, tells Albany's NEWS10 that his client "was involved in a series of tragic mistakes, made by more than one person," and that he "feels terrible that a life was lost." Mausert says Monahan shot in self-defense. "The situation where we have an elderly gentleman and his elderly wife living out in the dark woods in Washington County with three vehicles that come roaring into his driveway at a [high rate of] speed, shined their lights at his house, and not leaving when he turns on the floodlights," he says. "So, certainly, there was cause for an element of fear on Mr. Monahan's part."
  • Surprising line: County Sheriff Jeffrey J. Murphy has described Mausert as uncooperative and said he shouldn't have fired because the vehicles were leaving. Mausert, though, spoke to the New York Times and criticized the sheriff for "basically acting as judge, jury, and executioner." One reaction to that comment online: "Reader, I gasped audibly."
  • Reputation: Neighbors say Monahan has a "combative personality," per the Times, and a particular disdain for trespassers. He has grown particularly irritated about the latter in recent years, neighbor Adam Matthews tells the AP.
  • Tribute: As for Gillis, she was a "kind, beautiful soul and a ray of light to anyone who was lucky enough to know her," says a family statement, per CNN. "She was just beginning to find her way in the world with kindness, humor, and love." Boyfriend Walsh says they were among the 2%, a reference to an apparent stat about high school sweethearts who stay together long term. "I want the world to know how good of a person she really was," he tells NBC. Read her obituary, which notes she hoped to become a marine biologist or veterinarian.
(More fatal shooting stories.)

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