“There was clearly no threat”: 20-year-old woman shot and killed after turning into wrong driveway

A young woman was shot and killed Saturday after she and a group of friends accidentally pulled into the wrong driveway while searching for a friend’s home in upstate New York. 

Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy said during a Monday press conference that the suspect, 65-year-old Kevin Monahan, fired off two shots from the front porch of his Hebron, N.Y. home, one of which struck the vehicle Kaylin Gillis was in. 

The group drove away in search of cell service, eventually placing a 911 call. Gillis was pronounced dead at the scene when first responders arrived in Salem, around 5 miles from where the shooting took place.

“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. The killing, the sheriff added, was “very sad,” describing Gillis as a woman who “comes from a good family” whom he knew. 

“She was an innocent young girl who was out with friends looking for another friend’s house,” he continued. “Unfortunately, they drove up this driveway.”

Murphy also stated that Monahan was uncooperative in surrendering to authorities, and “refused to exit his residence to speak with police.”

A press release from the Washington County Sheriff indicated that Monahan was eventually taken into custody with assistance from the New York State Special Operations Police Response Team. 

“There was clearly no threat from anyone in the vehicle. There was no reason for Mr. Monahan to feel threatened,” Murphy added.

He said that no one is believed to have exited the car before shots were fired, nor was there any suspected interaction between Monahan and the group. 

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Gillis’ killing bears some semblance to a shooting that took place in Kansas City, Missouri last week, in which 84-year-old Andrew D. Lester, a white man, shot 16-year-old Black teen, Ralph Yarl, after Yarl mistakenly knocked on the wrong door. 

Lester reportedly shot Yarl in the head and arm after the boy rang his doorbell at 115th Street, meaning to pick up his two younger brothers from a home on 115th Terrace. 

The Guardian reported that Yarl, who sustained “life-threatening injuries,” was able to reach a nearby neighbor for help, before being taken to the hospital. The New York Times reported that Yarl was released from the hospital on Sunday evening, after undergoing surgery. He is expected to make a full recovery. 

Lester was initially released after a “24-hour hold,” and walked free without charge, a decision that led to an eruption of protests in Kansas City over the weekend.

On Monday, Lester was charged in the shooting, with prosecutor Zachary Thompson stating that there “was a racial component to the case.”

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