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.

 

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

Chilliwack’s oldest school, Central elementary, celebrates 90 years

Historic photos, scrap books, the school song all part of upcoming 90th celebration

The Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk strolls into Chilliwack next month

Photographers meet up to spend a few hours socializing, capturing images, and sharing with like-minded people

Libraries call on reading buddies, dads to take part in literacy programs in Chilliwack

The annual Reading Buddies program and the brand-new Man in the Moon story time start this month

Westbound crash on Highway 1 in Langley causing extreme traffic delays

Collision occured just after Glover Road, cars backed up all the way to 264th Street

Chilliwack Chiefs blow out Prince George Spruce Kings in home opener

Ethan Bowen scored three goals as the Chiefs dumped their Mainland division rivals 6-2.

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

Over 200 Hotel Georgia hospitality workers join ‘open-ended strike’

Unionized workers at Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront have also walked out

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Hiker rescued after spending night on Crown Mountain

North Shore Rescue spotted the woman by helicopter over Hanes Valley

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Most Read