While the Western Forest Products Nanaimo mill shooting occurred in April 2014, it wasn’t until December 2016 that victims’ families saw justice.
Fred McEachern and Michael Lunn were killed in the shooting, while Tony Sudar and Earl Kelly were injured. Kevin Douglas Addison, 47 at the time, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Addison’s trial began Sept. 7 in Nanaimo. During testimony, it was learned that Addison suffered from depression. He had filed grievances against the company, including one in January 2011 related to not being recalled for work following a late-2008 mill closure. Addison felt work was being done that he was qualified to do, but the union said it had no merit.
John Gustafson, defence counsel, said Addison didn’t have the “necessary mental intention” to commit the crimes of murder and attempted murder.
In addition to depression, Addison testified he had suicidal thoughts and trouble sleeping. He thought the mill’s manager, Andy Vanger, was ruining his career and hampering employment insurance claims, although he later admitted those thoughts were ridiculous.
Addison admitted to shooting Lunn in the arm in the mill parking lot. Lunn, a union rep, had assisted Addison with grievances. Addison said he didn’t recollect shooting Sudar, Kelly and McEachern, but did recall shooting at Vanger and two others in an office area. There was an ensuing struggle with Vanger, where the gun went off. Vanger testified that during the struggle, McEachern had helped subdue Addison by hitting him with a chair.
The jury found Addison guilty on all four counts on Sept. 28 and on Dec. 2, Judge Robin Baird sentenced Addison to four life sentences.
“This is definitely closure … we’re just happy that it is done and we can carry on now,” said Lorraine McEachern, Fred’s widow, following the sentencing.
“The judge was amazing, absolutely amazing” said Marlene Lunn, Michael’s widow. “He said it the way we all wanted to say it.”