East Village Community Mourns Slain Professor

A Manhattan community turned out Friday  to remember a Pratt Institute professor known for her dedication to helping those in need.

Monica Shay, a longtime East Village resident, died Thursday after she was shot in the head along with several others at her Pennsylvania vacation home last weekend.

"Our hearts are broken about this," said John Penley, a friend of Shay. "It's really just very sad."

Mourners said Shay helped countless of homeless people. One of the beneficiaries of Shay's help, Darlene Bryant, called Shay "an inspiration."

"She knew my situation," Bryant said. "She sat me down, and we talked. She told me, 'Hold on.'"

Shay, her husband Paul, his nephew Joseph Shay, his girlfriend Kathryn Erdmann and her 2-year-old son Gregory Erdmann were all shot Saturday, July 2, in the Shays' weekend home outside Philadelphia.  Police accuse Mark Geisenheyner of a revenge killing, saying he felt he was double-crossed by Paul Shay in an insurance fraud scheme.

"We absolutely do not believe the statements of a crazy psychotic killer," said Penley.

Many of the mourners didn't believe Paul Shay could have been involved in any kind of scam. Police eventually shot and killed Geisenheyner two days after the shootings.

At Tompkins Square Park Friday, several of Monica's friends took turns talking about how the Pratt Institute professor also made a life helping the needy.

"She considered herself a revolutionary person," said Frank Morales.

"Both her and Paul are some of the most decent people," added Jed Brandt.

Paul Shay and his nephew's girlfriend remain in the hospital.

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