Weeks before Tommy Gilbert drove to Ohio to purchase the gun prosecutors say he used to shoot his father, Thomas Gilbert Sr., on January 4, 2015, he had a long, heated confrontation with three clerks at East Hampton Town Justice Court, in which he demanded they immediately restore his driver’s license, which had been suspended months earlier.
Two of the clerks spoke last week about the incident. Both are currently employed by the town, and asked their names not be used.
In May 2013, court records show, Gilbert had been pulled over by East Hampton Town Police on a speeding charge. Because he never answered the charge, either by mail or in person, records indicate, after being sent several reminder letters, Gilbert’s license was suspended by the court in December 2013. On March 12, 2014, he came to East Hampton Town Justice Court to pay his outstanding fine in person.
He returned on March 14.
“He was being so nasty,” one clerk said. After paying his fine, she said, he had gone to the Department of Motor Vehicles, where he was told they had not received notification from East Hampton that the fine had been paid. It usually takes about a week for such notification from the court to reach the DMV, the clerk explained.
First one clerk, then a second, then finally all three clerks were at the window, to try and assuage the agitated Gilbert.
Another clerk said Gilbert was angry that the suspension hadn’t yet been lifted. “He said that he was working in a place that he needed a license for. ‘I need my license for my job. I can’t drive without it,’” she recalled him saying. “We just assumed he was doing some kind of delivery job, something like that.”
“He was trying to be super-intelligent,” said the first clerk. “He seemed like a privileged boy. You could see that he was well-heeled.”
“He was very accusatory,” said the other clerk. Closing time came and went. The courthouse doors lock at 3, automatically. At that time, East Hampton did not station an officer at the courthouse on Fridays. The three women were now alone with Gilbert, with a plexiglass window between them.
“He was getting so forceful. We had no officers here. We told him it was after closing time,” said the second clerk. “We told him he had to leave.” They were close to calling the police, she said. “He stomped out of here and went to the town supervisor’s office.”