Longtime Springfield butcher shot to death: ‘This hits home,’ chief says

Springfield starts new year with two deadly shootings, SWAT responses.

A longtime Springfield business owner’s shooting death Thursday night was the latest act of violence in a difficult start to the new year in Springfield.

Thomas Gill, a butcher and owner of Gill’s Quality Meat Market on Selma Road, died after he was shot in his SUV in the area of Kenton and Burt streets Thursday night as he was traveling south with a child passenger, according to police.

“This hits home,” said Springfield police Chief Allison Elliott during a news conference on Friday. “Anytime our community is dealing with a situation like this, everyone is grieving. Family members are grieving, a community is grieving.”

In other cases, Springfield officers were still searching Friday for a man considered dangerous who was the subject of a lengthy police operation Thursday and were still investigating two related shootings that killed one person and injured three others. In those shootings, three people have been arrested.

“A lot of trauma has occurred as a result of these situations,” Elliott said.

As of Friday afternoon, Elliott said, a suspect has not been identified in the shooting of Gill. Police also continue investigating the motive.

Gill’s SUV struck a hill and a stop sign as it went off the roadway left of Burt Street while traveling south, according to an incident report. Gill was in the front driver seat with a wound to the left side of his neck, bleeding profusely.

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The Springfield Fire Division transported Gill to Springfield Regional Medical Center, where he died from his injuries, according to the report.

The child passenger told police that Gill lost control of the SUV when he was struck by gunfire. The child was not injured, the report stated.

Customers of Gill’s Quality Meat Market, 1522 Selma Road, shared notes of sympathy to the family and memories of Gill.

“He was a better person than he was a butcher, and he was a great butcher,” wrote Steve Kelly on Facebook. “My condolences to the family.”

Gill was a Springfield native and Northeastern High School graduate, according to the market’s website. He owned the business since 1998.

“I have always tried to provide the highest quality meats and personal service,” he wrote.

The Springfield Police Division also continues its search for a man who was the subject of a police raid on Thursday afternoon, responding to the 300 block of East McCreight Avenue after receiving reports of a man making threats of violence.

The suspect was identified as Michael Aaron Colvin Jr., 30.

Police consider him to be “armed and dangerous” and advise residents who may see him to call Springfield police or their local police department immediately.

A woman called police Thursday morning after Colvin reportedly came to her McCreight residence and was threatening her and her daughter, the suspect’s ex-girlfriend. He was at their house Wednesday night and was asked to leave, with the women ultimately leaving the residence after he refused, according to an incident report.

The mother came home from work on Thursday to find her kitchen window opened and her door unlocked, according to the report. Inside was Colvin, who began yelling that “her whole family was going to die,” the incident report stated.

Colvin’s ex-girlfriend showed police texts and videos Colvin sent her, which showed him threatening to burn the house down and more. One video showed Colvin pointed a handgun at the family’s pet dog.

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East McCreight Avenue was shut down between North Limestone Street and Rodgers Drive for several hours on Thursday. Nearby Lagonda Elementary also was put on lockdown, with students ultimately bused to Springfield High School for dismissal.

SWAT crews entered the house five and a half hours into the standoff, police said, only to find Colvin was not in the house.

Police searched the house but declined to say what was found.

Colvin has several outstanding warrants, some of which include violence or weapons-related offenses. He stands at six feet, seven inches tall.

Charges related to the standoff had not been filed against him as of Friday.

Thursday’s shooting and police raid come days after two related shootings claimed the life of a Darryl Stamper Jr., 41, of Springfield, and injured three others.

Three people – Lawaun Bass, Nefertari Alexander and Lee Mays – face firearms and tampering with evidence charges in the Jan. 1 and 2 shootings, which police said this week are connected and not random.

The police division asks that those with information about Thursday’s shooting and the at-large suspect call 937-324-7716.

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