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A woman was shot to death in a car as it turned around in a rural New York driveway

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

And now to another tragedy involving a shooting in front of a home all due to a mistake. Officials in upstate New York say a homeowner fired a gun into a vehicle that had accidentally turned into his driveway on Saturday, killing a woman inside that car. Lucas Willard of member station WAMC reports.

LUCAS WILLARD, BYLINE: Police say Kaylin Gillis was killed while searching for a friend's house in a rural stretch of Washington County, N.Y. Sheriff Jeff Murphy spoke to reporters on Monday.

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JEFF MURPHY: The first call came in at 9:53 p.m. on Saturday night. It was a 911 call reporting that a 20-year-old female had been shot.

WILLARD: Murphy said when the vehicle carrying Gillis and three friends turned down the wrong driveway, 65-year-old Kevin Monahan came to the door and fired twice at the vehicle. He is being held at a nearby jail on second-degree murder. Murphy said he did not think there was any interaction between Monahan and the people he shot at.

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MURPHY: 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.

WILLARD: Hebron, where the shooting took place, is a small town on the Vermont border. Town supervisor Brian Campbell said he was dumbfounded by the incident. He said he knew Monahan, a local contractor, as normal as can be. Campbell said it's very easy for people to get lost on the back roads of the small community, where cell service is spotty at best.

BRIAN CAMPBELL: You don't know how many times I've been awakened early in the morning - people lost, run out of gas, over a ditch. You go tow them out, put them on their merry way. You never think of your own safety, even.

WILLARD: The sheriff said after the shooting, the young people drove for several minutes to get cell service and call for help. An online fundraiser that quickly raised thousands of dollars features a photo of Gillis shared widely since the shooting. Gregg Barthelmas, superintendent of the Schuylerville Central School District, where Gillis attended high school, knew Gillis personally.

GREGG BARTHELMAS: That picture of her speaks volumes to her character, of how she was as a student - very nice, very loving and fun, outgoing.

WILLARD: Barthelmas said Gillis was a cheerleader, a member of Future Farmers of America and an artist. Monahan's attorney, Kurt Mausert, says three vehicles pulled into Monahan's driveway, and his client was frightened when he pulled the trigger. For NPR News, I'm Lucas Willard in Albany. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lucas Willard
Lucas Willard graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. He also attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in 2010, where he studied audio and multimedia storytelling. Prior to joining WAMC in 2011, Lucas worked with the Sound and Story Project of the Hudson Valley, the Big Shed Audio Documentary Podcast, the Albany Broadcasting Company, WDVL & WCVF-FM Fredonia, and WSUC-FM Cortland.