Marie Nobles will never forget Jan. 23, 2019.
“My whole world crashed. I lost my baby.”
Her baby was her youngest son, 41-year-old Rex Edward Gill.
“He was a dad, he was a friend, he was somebody you could count on, “ the Penticton mother told Global News.
Penticton man identified as Kamloops shooting victim
Gill, a father to two boys and two stepdaughters, was recently laid off from the oil patch in northern Alberta. Last month, he was in Kamloops doing a siding job for a friend, when the unthinkable happened.
“It should never have been him,” Nobles said.
Gill was outside the Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel in Aberdeen on the morning of Jan. 23, when he was gunned down while having a smoke.
“All I could say was no, no, no,” Nobles recalled.
Gill’s murder occurred two hours after 31-year-old Cody Mathieu was fatally shot outside the Super 8 motel in Kamloops’ Valleyview neighbourhood. Mathieu was known to police, who say he had ties to the city’s drug trade.
WATCH: (Aired Jan. 24) Condolences pour in for Penticton man shot dead in Kamloops. Shelby Thom reports.
Initially, RCMP believed organized crime was behind the fatal shootings of both Mathieu and Gill.
“It was very hurtful, saying it was drug related. I knew it wasn’t,” Nobles said. “His family knew, his friends knew it wasn’t, cause that wasn’t him.”
Gill’s cousin John Middleton echoed those thoughts: “It was painful to hear that.”
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On Feb. 19, Kamloops RCMP held a news conference to announce they are investigating Gill’s murder as a possible case of mistaken identity. Suspects have been identified and Serious Crime Unit investigators are treating it as a priority investigation.
“It’s a little too late,” Gill’s mother said. “It took them one hour to say he was involved in drugs but it took them four weeks to say he wasn’t.”
“You think of the opposite of what they’re profiling, and that was Rex,” Middleton said.
Middleton grew up with Gill in the Penticton area, where Gill had worked on and off with Coyote Cruises since he was a teenager – becoming well known as the company’s bus driver.
WATCH: (Aired Jan. 24) Interview with friend of Kamloops homicide victim Rex Gill
“He meant the world,” Middleton told Global News.
“He wasn’t my cousin, he was my brother.”
The truth will come out,” said Gill’s older brother, Arthur Gill.
Arthur, who lives in the small community of Carmi, B.C. east of Penticton, said his brother Rex loved his kids and lived to ride his Harley Davidson.
“I’m so proud of the way he grew up and the way he ended up as a man,” Arthur told Global News.
He said Rex was adamant that not everybody who rides a motorcycle belongs to a biker club.
“He loved riding. He did not belong to a club,” said Arthur Gill. “His club was the wind in his hair as he flew down the road, that was his club.”
Gill’s two sons, 13-year-old Dawson and 16-year-old Dayton, are now growing up without their father.
“He loved his family. He was so proud of his kids,” Nobles said.
Gill is also survived by two stepdaughters, 17-year-old Paige and 11-year-old Shelby.
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Dayton Gill was brave enough to sing one of his father’s favourite songs, Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer,” at Gill’s memorial service on Feb. 9.
“They need that role model and it’s been taken away from them,” said Nobles. “All they have now is memories.”
“To be taken out like this is just…there’s no words to describe it,” added Middleton. “It’s so much pain.”