SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. (News10)- The community of Schuylerville is expressing its tremendous grief after the loss of Kaylin Gillis. Police say the 20-year-old was shot and killed by a homeowner when she and a group of friends got lost and found themselves at the wrong address.
The Washington County Sheriff says Kaylin was a passenger in a vehicle that 65-year-old Kevin Monahan allegedly fired upon from his home in Hebron, a rural community in Washington County, New York.
“She really was a friend to all and cared about everyone around her. And that just demonstrates the type of student she was. The person she was. And the loss that this entire community will feel,” said Katie Elsworth, principal of Schuylerville Middle School.
Just two years after graduating from Schuylerville High School, Kaylin’s life was abruptly cut short. Her accused killer, 65-year-old Kevin Monahan, is now charged with 2nd degree murder.
During a Monday press conference, Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy said the Hebron homeowner allegedly shot into a vehicle in which Kaylin was a passenger after she and a group of friends got lost and mistakenly pulled into Monahan’s driveway. Murphy says the shooting was unprovoked, as the vehicle had been turning around. The group had to drive several miles to the town of Salem to call for help due to the spotty cellphone service in the area.
Kaylin was known to have enjoyed many pursuits, especially art. While speaking with reporters at the high school, principal James Ducharme spoke of her artwork, which includes a drawing of singer Billie Eilish, a smiling self-portrait, as well as another drawing of Kaylin and a friend. “And it’s that piece, that is her lasting legacy with us,” he said. “You know, this artwork, we still have two years after her graduation. And that should speak volumes to the impact she had while she was here.”
In a Facebook post, Kaylin’s father wrote that their family will never be the same and that his daughter had looked forward to starting college in Florida to pursue her dream of becoming a marine biologist. She leaves behind a grieving family, which includes two younger siblings, who also attend school in the district, one in 9th Grade and the other in 7th grade.
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“I just asked that you keep the family in your thoughts and prayers. When those kids come back to school, that’s when they’re going to need us the most. But we are there for the family if they need anything from the school district. We will be there,” said district superintendent Gregg Barthelmas.
There is a GoFundMe page to assist the family with funeral and other expenses.
As for Monahan, he is expected in court on Wednesday for a bail hearing.