Two killed in sawmill shooting
NANAIMO, B.C.—Workers at a waterfront sawmill in this normally-quiet city on Vancouver Island would have just been settling into their shifts yesterday morning when the first sounds of gunfire erupted from the mill’s parking lot.
Within minutes, four employees were shot—two of them fatally—and a former colleague was under arrest, leaving their co-workers and their community struggling to understand what could have prompted such a shocking display of workplace violence.
Police arrived within minutes of the first 9-1-1 call, RCMP said, and arrested a 47-year-old man who lives in the city and who the company identified as a former employee.
Four men were taken to hospital—one by air to Victoria and the rest to Nanaimo, where two were pronounced dead.
The patient in Victoria was in critical condition while the surviving victim in Nanaimo was listed as stable.
The RCMP has identified the two men killed as Michael John Lunn, 61, and Fred James McEachern, 53, of Nanaimo.
Supt. Mark Fisher said police believed the attack began in the parking lot and then moved into the mill’s offices.
A member of the RCMP emergency response team arrested the suspect shortly after arriving, noted Fisher, and a shotgun was seized at the scene.
Fisher didn’t provide any further details about the suspect and declined to speculate about what may have motivated the attack.
He said police believed the shooter acted alone.
“We have no indication that there are any other suspects involved in this incident,” Fisher noted.
The suspect, Kevin Douglas Addison, 47, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting.
He was remanded in custody and was to appear in Nanaimo court today.
Don Demens, president of Western Forest Products, which is based in Vancouver, confirmed the suspect was a former worker, but declined to reveal when the man left the company or under what circumstances.
Demens said the company was providing grief counsellors for its employees, and all of the company’s operations on Vancouver Island were closed for at least yesterday out of respect for the victims.