A contingent of motorcyclists hit the pavement on Saturday morning in a charity ride to honour the legacy of a Penticton, B.C., man gunned down in Kamloops in 2019.
Rex Edward Gill, 41, was standing outside the Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel on the morning of Jan. 23, 2019, when he was shot while having a smoke.
Gill hails from Penticton and had recently been laid off from the oil patch in northern Alberta. He was in Kamloops doing a siding job for a friend.
Kamloops RCMP said Gill may have been a victim of mistaken identity. No arrests have been made.
Gill was a motorcycle enthusiast, a father of two, and a charitable man who gave to the city’s most vulnerable.
His mother, Marie Nobles, has organized the memorial motorcycle ride every year since Gill’s death. The ride starts in Penticton and ends in Kelowna as the sea of motorcycles travels down Highway 97.
“I have been crying and riding because every time I looked in my mirror, all I could see was bikes,” Nobles told Global News.
She added that the event continues to raise awareness about Gill’s homicide and she hopes for a break in the case.
“This is to keep him alive and keep him out there so maybe the guy that killed him, maybe they can take him off the streets,” Nobles said.
“We just need to keep him in the headlines.”
The ride also doubles as a charity event.
Participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the Penticton and Kelowna food banks and to make a monetary donation to the Kelowna Gospel Mission.
“It is very important to keep the memory alive and to help people that are less fortunate,” said Art Gill, Rex’s brother.
Art also wants to see justice for his brother.
“I haven’t heard anything, they aren’t doing anything, and I just want to know why? Why are they not talking to us and letting us know what is going on,” he said.
“If somebody has any information, contact the police. There is no closure until somebody is arrested and somebody is in jail for this.”
The third annual Rex Gill Memorial Ride passed the Kelowna Mission and wrapped up at Konquer Custom Rides & Rods where there was a barbeque, silent auction and cheque presentation.
“Marie, Rex’s mom, is honouring her son’s legacy of giving back to those in need in a beautiful way,” said Sonja Menyes, development officer at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.
“Although Marie is in a lot of pain herself, she is determined to get on her bike and ride the whole way with Rex’s friends and other motorcyclists. It is great to see all the motorcycles in front of our emergency shelter. It means so much to our residents and is a thrill to see so many bikes together.”
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. Police said Gill was not known to them.
“The investigations into the murders of Cody Mathieu and Rex Gill continue to be a priority for the Kamloops Detachment Serious Crime Unit, with investigators working on these files on almost a daily basis,” said Sgt. Nestor Baird.
“Homicide Investigations by nature are complex, and no two files have the same timeline for completion. While there have been no arrests to date, investigators are confident that with the progress that continues to be made there will be a successful conclusion to these files down the road.”
The memorial ride also honours the life of Rex’s friend, Mike Courtney, who rode in the 2020 ride and died in a crash two blocks away from his home on the way back.