Rex Gill, 41, was a Summerland resident shot outside the Kamloops Comfort Inn and Suites on Jan. 23. His homicide was considered related to a similar shooting that took place the same morning in Kamloops. RCMP are now saying that this is possibly a case of mistaken identity. Photo from Facebook Rex Gill, 41, was a Summerland resident shot outside the Kamloops Comfort Inn and Suites on Jan. 23. His homicide was considered related to a similar shooting that took place the same morning in Kamloops. RCMP are now saying that this is possibly a case of mistaken identity. Photo from Facebook

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

The first bullet erupted from a car window hitting no one, but the next shots took the life of Rex Gill.

A Penticton man is recounting the morning he watched his friend, a 41-year-old Summerland resident, get gunned down outside of the Kamloops Comfort Inn and Suites on Jan. 23.

RCMP immediately linked Gill’s death to another Kamloops shooting that took place the same morning outside of a different hotel.

“I was standing right beside him when it happened,” said the man.

“I was two feet away from him, having a smoke. Then a car pulled up beside the truck we were standing beside, took one shot and hit the tailgate … then they took four more shots at us,” said the man. “I dove behind the truck and turned just as Rex was hit, so I watched him get shot.”

Police said early on that the deaths were linked to organized crime, noting that Gill was not previously known to them, while the other victim, Cody Marcel Mathieu, 33, was linked to the drug trade. The witness to Gill’s death, who wishes to remain anonymous for safety and privacy concerns, knew him personally said there was no chance he was involved in any type of drug trade.

Related: Penticton victim in Kamloops shooting may be a case of mistaken identity

“It was definitely a case of mistaken identity – he had nothing to do with the drug trade anywhere and let alone in Kamloops.”

The man explained that he and Gill were in the city for work, and were outside smoking when the gunfire erupted. He said he gave his statement to Kamloops RCMP, who have not been in touch with him since.

“Apparently (the shooter) was the same person (who attacked Mathieu). The description of the vehicle or something was the same so it was the same person,” said the witness.

Related: Penticton man killed in Kamloops shooting

A release recently issued by the Kamloops RCMP said the two ongoing homicide investigations are being handled by the Special Crimes Unit, who are treating them as top priorities. The release also said suspects have been identified for these two homicides but no arrests have been made.

“It’s bothered me that the cops say the public have no fear of being in danger because we’re just the public. But we had nothing to do with it and one of us is dead because of it. The public does have something to fear, because otherwise, we’d be fine.”

The witness said Gill’s death left a lasting impact on him, deeply shaking his sense of security.

“I don’t go anywhere; I go to work and stay in a motel. I don’t leave, I can’t even go out for a walk or nothing. Just because it was pretty scary.”

Related: UPDATE: Kamloops shootings linked to organize crime

Matthew Baran, executive director of Ooknakane Friendship Centre and a personal friend of Gill’s, is also upset with how information was released in regards to the shooting, claiming the police should have taken more care when they “portrayed Gill in the drug trade.”

Baran said he has spoken with Gill’s family since the most recent RCMP release about his homicide, and they are disappointed in the lack of communication.

“The RCMP didn’t contact them directly to notify them (about the mistaken identity). That would have been more appropriate than releasing it in a news release that was somewhat focusing on another situation…” said Baran.

Baran said ‘it was not a revelation to the family’ that Gill’s death was likely a case of mistaken identity.

“It’s unfortunate that the RCMP painted the situation with that brush. I understand that they have to do what they have to do,” said Baran. “But it was a little premature to make the suggestion and imply that he was involved or invested in that situation. It just wasn’t normal to his character.”

Baran said those who knew Gill “take those experiences and share them with other people” in order to honour his memory.

“Make use of good teachers by teaching and sharing with others. Be selfless, be helpful. Be a good person, that’s how you carry his memory on.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

RCMP gather on Rogers Place in Kamloops, a short road just off Rogers Way in the Aberdeen neighbourhood, where Rex Gill’s body was found on Jan. 23. (Dave Eagles/KTW photo)

Just Posted

Chernove set to take on epic 1,000 kilometre cycling challenge

A local Paralympian is taking on an epic cycling challenge. Tristen Chernove… Continue reading

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Cranbrook RCMP looking for vehicle, driver involved in hit and run

RCMP are looking for the owner of a white Toyota Corolla that fled the scene

Cranbrook Cenotaph names get a touch-up

Legion members repaint 166 names, marking three wars, for the first time in monument’s history

BookNotes: The Australian prison colony’s first lending library

The books brought over by various officers proved quite popular with the convicts

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read