Vigil Held for Local Family Shot in Pa.

IMG_2500Chelsia Rose Marcius Nicholas Heyward, 54, of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, a member of the October 22nd Coailition to Stop Police Brutality.

Old friends, neighbors and passersby gathered by the front stoop of 263 East 10th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A for an evening vigil at the house of Monica and Paul Shay, the East Village couple who were both shot in the head Saturday night at their country house in Bechtelsville, Pa.

“If he had the chance to talk first, he probably would have talked” — the gunman — “out of it,” said friend Paul DeRienzo, 55, of the Lower East Side, who said Mr. Shay always found a way to temper a dispute and help warring parties make peace.

IMG_2478Chelsia Rose Marcius Aidge Patterson at tonight’s vigil.

Members of the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality organized the vigil for Mrs. Shay —an active member of the organization who they affectionately call “Kathryn” — via Facebook, where about 90 people said they would attend. Most who stopped by said they knew Mrs. Shay from the Pratt Institute, where she was an associate professor, or from her community activism.

“She did good work on behalf of others at the Stolen Lives project,” said Heidi Boghosian of the National Lawyers Guild, who has worked with Mrs. Shay for more than 15 years. For her to be shot in that manner is a really sad irony.”

Also not far from the thoughts of those assembled tonight were the three other victims of the shooting, including the Shays’ nephew, Joseph Shay of Yarmouth, Mass. who was killed, along with 2-year-old, Gregory Bosco Erdmann. A fifth victim, the toddler’s mother, Kathryn Erdmann, 37, was also in critical condition.

The suspect in the shooting, Mark Richard Geisenheyner, 51, was killed Monday in a standoff with the police just outside Philadelphia.

“This was a sick man who did this to those people,” said John Penley, 60 of Sunset Park, who first met the Shays in the late 80’s.

So far, friends say Mrs. Shay remains in critical condition, and many fear for her survival, including Juanita Young of the October 22nd Coalition.

“I’ve been out of my mind since Sunday,” said Ms. Young, who told the small crowd that Mrs. Shay helped her seek justice after the death of her son in a confrontation with the police. “I don’t know what I’m going to do now, how I’m going to go to meetings and not seeing her at the table. What is Paul going to do without his Kathryn?”