THE heartbroken friend of the 20-year-old New Yorker, who was fatally shot after the couple drove in the wrong driveway, has spoken out in the wake of the tragedy.
Blake Walsh, 19, recalled that he and his girlfriend were looking for a party when a simple wrong turn prompted homeowner Kevin Monahan to fire shots at his vehicle, eventually killing Kaylin Gillis.
Walsh, who was driving the Ford Explorer in upstate New York that fatal Saturday night, said in a heartbreaking interview with NBC News that his life had been shattered.
“My world was taken from me on Saturday,” the young man admitted, speaking of his beloved girlfriend of over four years.
The couple met when he was a sophomore in high school and often spoke about being part of the “2%,” he said, citing an apparent statistic that only a small fraction of high school sweethearts get married.
Walsh told reporters he has “high hopes” and plans to spend the rest of his life with Gillis, a dream that came to an abrupt end over the weekend.
Walsh explained that he and Gillis were with two other friends when they pulled into the wrong entrance before quickly realizing the mistake and turning around.
“We thought we were in the right place,” Walsh said. “We didn’t have cell service to find out. As soon as we found out we were in the wrong place, we started walking and then everything happened.”
Walsh described the next few moments as blurry. Monahan, 65, saw the cars on his property and fired two shots in their direction, according to police reports.
“My friend said, ‘They shoot – go!’ I tried to accelerate as quickly as possible and that’s when the fatal shot came through,” said Walsh.
The teenager fought back tears as he thought about his girlfriend’s death.
“I want to believe it was instant. I hope it was. I pray it was,” he said.
Gillis was shot in the neck, and the group had to drive five minutes before they found cell service to call 911. She was pronounced dead several miles from the residence.
“It didn’t feel like it,” Walsh said. “It felt like 30 seconds. The adrenaline was so strong.”
Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy told reporters that the group clearly posed no threat.
Monahan was arrested on Monday April 17 and charged with second degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
His attorney, Kurt Mauser, said the homeowner had no intention of hurting anyone when he fired his gun.
“When there’s a victim and there’s a tragedy, everyone wants a villain, but not every time there’s a victim and there’s a tragedy, there’s also a villain,” he said. “Some mistakes were made that were unintentional.”
Monahan, who was being held in the Warren County Jail, is expected to appear in court for a hearing on Wednesday.
Walsh intends to be present at the hearing and hopes Monahan will be severely punished.
“I need to see who took my girlfriend away from me,” Walsh said. “I have to look at him.”
Most of all, the young man hopes that the legacy of his girlfriend will be remembered.
“I want the world to know what a good person she really was and how much she influenced everyone who had the fortunate opportunity to be in her life,” he recalled.
He added that he will miss her smile and eyes and how happy she made him.