Crime And Law

‘Nicest man that you could ever meet;’ People mourning business owner shot and killed in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — People in Springfield are mourning the loss of a business owner that was shot and killed Thursday night.

The community paid respects to Thomas A. Gill Saturday night.

>>PHOTOS: ‘Nicest man that you could ever meet;’ People mourning business owner shot and killed in Springfield

News Center 7′s Brandon Lewis says candles and balloons are on the front door of Gill’s Quality Meat Market on the 1500 block of Selma Road and people said Gill meant so much to the city.

“It’s a sad, sad, sad time to lose someone like him,” said Denise Williams, President of the Springfield NAACP. “The nicest man that you could ever, ever meet.”

“Rest in Peace, Tom Gill.” That message is part of the growing memorial for him.

He had own Gill’s Quality Meat Market since 1998, according to the store’s website.

“I’ve only been in there a couple of times and each time, I’ve been in there, you know he was always friendly,” Williams told Lewis.

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Officers found Gill with a gunshot wound to the neck Thursday, Springfield Police said in a news conference on Friday. Doctors pronounced him dead at Springfield Regional Medical Center.

“This hits home,” said Allison Elliott, Springfield Police Chief. “Anytime our community is dealing with a situation like this, everyone is grieving, family members are grieving, our community is grieving.”

Williams told Lewis it’s just hard to wrap your mind around this happening to such a beloved business owner.

“I’m going to speak for me,” she said. “I’ve never heard anything negative regarding Mr. Gill or his establishment, nothing. So I’m trying to tell you for that this to happen is senseless. I mean he wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

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Gill’s has sign on its front door saying it is closed for the time being and may reopen on January 10.

“I think the only thing that we need to do at this point is to pray for the family,” Williams said. “My heart goes out to the family. We need to really put our arms around them.”

Springfield Police say if you have any information to help them in this case, please reach out to them.

Police did not release any details about the circumstances surrounding the shooting or information about a potential suspect during Friday’s news conference.

A vigil for Thomas Gill has been scheduled for Monday at 5 p.m. at Gill’s Market.

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