Relatives of slain Springfield meat market owner call community support overwhelming

Candlelight vigil sees more than 100 attendees

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

More than 100 people mourned the loss of a Springfield butcher and business owner during a candlelight vigil at his shop on Monday night.

Tom Gill, 64, died in a shooting on Thursday while driving in the area of Kenton and Burt streets in Springfield.

Gill was the owner of Gill’s Quality Meat Market. The Selma Road business has been operating since 1998.

Gill’s son Shayne is now owner of the business, and he thanked the community for its support during Monday evening’s vigil.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

“So much remains unknown, but one thing is obvious,” he said on Monday. “And that is the love people have for Tom Gill.”

Shayne Gill said the business will reopen on Wednesday.

Tom Gill’s brother, Kenny, said the amount of support he’s seen from people who knew Tom is “overwhelming.”

“I will cherish this day always,” he said before the crowd, filled with people shedding tears and clutching candles.

Customers and other local businesses shared condolences for Gill’s family on the Springfield News-Sun’s social media accounts over the weekend.

“Tom would give you the shirt he has on,” wrote Gloria Flarida Tiemann. “This was senseless. He would always tell me when he left the store, ‘Be safe!’ I want to scream!”

Michelle Hairston of Springfield said she knew Tom for more than 20 years and was a customer at his shop.

“Tom was a wonderful man,” she wrote. “He always said ‘Hi, hon!’ when I would come in to shop. He will be greatly missed. And when Gill’s re-opens, we need to support the business even more.”

Charges had not been filed in connection to the fatal shooting as of Monday afternoon. The police division asks that those with information about Thursday’s shooting call 937-324-7716.

Gill’s funeral details were announced on Monday. Visitation will be on Jan. 12 from 4-7 p.m. at Conroy Funeral Home at 1660 E. High St. in Springfield. A private family service will be held at a later date, according to Gill’s obituary.

Credit: Picasa

Credit: Picasa

Gill was a 1976 graduate of Northeastern High School. He is survived by his sons, Shayne and Clay Gill; daughter-in-law, Cassie Gill; longtime partner, Erynn Asebrook; grandsons, Wesley and Sawyer Gill; siblings, Deb Cannon, Steve Gill, Kenny Gill, Irv Rutan, and Ronnie Rutan; aunt, Mickie Palmateer; as well as many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and cousins, according to his obituary.

“Tom was the life of the party, fearless, and one of the best people you could ever meet,” his obituary stated.

Springfield police were called at 9 p.m. Thursday to the area of Kenton and Burt streets on a report of a man shot. As officers arrived, they saw a 2013 Buick Enclave in the southeast corner of the intersection with several people standing around it, according to an incident report.

Four people called dispatch about the shooting Thursday night. One 911 caller who was near the intersection said Thursday told dispatchers that he saw a car sitting in the intersection that appeared to have struck a stop sign and was facing the wrong direction.

“I need to warn you, it sounded like there was a gunshot and people yelling at each other,” the caller told dispatch.

Another caller, who identified himself as Gill’s son, called dispatch the night of the shooting and crash.

“I need help, help! Someone just drove by. They shot him, they shot my dad,” the caller said. He told dispatchers that Gill was shot in the neck and was having trouble breathing. The son said he did not know who shot his father and passed the phone to a man who was nearby and helping.

“This guy needs help fast,” the man told dispatchers. “He’s breathing, but barely. I heard the shots. He needs help quick.”

The SUV reportedly went off the roadway left of Burt Street while traveling south, the report stated. Police found Gill in the front driver seat with a wound to the left side of his neck, bleeding profusely.

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

Gill’s death is the second fatal shooting in Springfield this year. Two related shootings on South Race Street on New Year’s Day and Jan. 2 claimed the life of Darryl Stamper Jr., 41, of Springfield, and injured three others. Three people – Three people – Lawaun Bass, Nefertari Alexander and Lee Mays – face firearms and tampering with evidence charges in connection to the shootings.

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