Cops: Fatal shooting of Hicksville college student suspicious

Megan Bookstaver, 23, was shot in the head

Megan Bookstaver, 23, was shot in the head when one of the weapons discharged in a fourth-floor bedroom of the home where her boyfriend, Eric Gaulin, 25, lived with his parents, according to a statement from the Tarrytown Village Police Department and her family. (Credit: Handout)

The fatal shooting of a college student from Hicksville while she was "examining firearms" with two others inside a Tarrytown home is being investigated as a suspicious death, police said Wednesday.

Megan Bookstaver, 23, was shot in the head Monday afternoon when one of the weapons discharged in a fourth-floor bedroom of the home where her boyfriend, Eric Gaulin, 25, lived with his parents, according to a statement from the Tarrytown Village Police Department and her family.

A 9ll call came in at 4:21 p.m. reporting the shooting inside the West Main Street home overlooking the Hudson River, police said. Bookstaver was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.


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Police did not say who was with Bookstaver looking at the weapons when one discharged. Her family said investigators told them she was with Gaulin and a friend.

Village police said they are interviewing witnesses, but Lt. William Herguth declined to comment further Wednesday and no arrests have been made. The Westchester County Police Department is assisting in the investigation, village police said.

A spokesman for the Westchester County police did not respond to a message.

Gaulin could not be reached for comment.

Bookstaver's maternal grandmother, Helen Ahlers, 78, and her brother, Lucas Bookstaver, 16, spoke lovingly of the young woman in an interview at the forensic psychology student's Hicksville home Wednesday afternoon. They described Bookstaver, a senior at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, as an honors student and an avid markswoman. They said Bookstaver's mother and father were too devastated to talk about the shooting.

Ahlers said the family was confident that no foul play was involved in her granddaughter's death. "What happened was a real tragedy," Ahlers said.

Lucas Bookstaver said Gaulin "would never hurt her."

Ahlers continued: "It was an accident. He loved her."

Bookstaver's family said she graduated from Hicksville High School in 2008. She worked for several years at the Woodbury Road Veterinary Hospital in Plainview -- adopting a dog from there.

Lucas Bookstaver said he and his sister grew up hunting deer with their father and frequently went to shooting ranges.

"We grew up around them and were always taught to respect them and be safe," Lucas Bookstaver said of firearms.

Funeral plans for Bookstaver are private, the family said.

Catherine Cioffi, a spokeswoman for Mercy College, said in a statement, "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time."

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