Two men are dead and two more are in hospital after a shooting at Western Forest Products in Nanaimo Wednesday morning.
At a press conference, Nanaimo RCMP Supt. Mark Fisher said police received a 911 call at roughly 7 a.m. about shots fired at the mill. RCMP members from Nanaimo arrived on scene within minutes, entered the building and arrested a male suspect police believe is responsible for the shooting.
The 47-year-old Nanaimo resident is a former employee of the company. According to reports, charges were laid against Kevin Douglas Addison in relation to the shootings.
“I want to stress that at this time, we have no indication that there are any other suspects involved in this incident,” Fisher said. “At this time it also appears the suspect, now in custody, acted alone.”
Fisher said it was the RCMP’s understanding that the shooting occurred in the parking lot area and in an office. A shotgun was recovered from the scene.
Four males with gunshot wounds were transported to hospital by paramedics. Two died of their injuries, according to Fisher.
Names of the deceased were not released by B.C. Coroners Service until next of kin are notified.
Don Demens, president and CEO of Western Forest Products, said it was a tragic incident. No layoffs from the mill were pending, and standard security was in place at the time of the shooting.
“Employees will move about and park their cars and move on to their job sites [in] regular course,” said Demens.
Grief counselling will be provided, he said.
At the scene, Janine Westby, whose ex-husband works in mill management, said she received a text from him saying he was OK.
Al Fraser, a trucker for Marpole Transport Ltd. that ships lumber, said that all the truckers have been sent home and there was no indication that anything was happening earlier in the morning.
“It was very quiet this morning. It was just a normal day,” Fraser told the News Bulletin at the scene. “I heard through our work and everything this morning … I heard there was a mass shooting at the sawmill.”
Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan said he was saddened by the shooting, adding this isn’t a usual occurrence in the city.
“It’s very difficult to understand and Nanaimo for the most part is very peaceful and this type of violence is extremely rare and I can’t recall a similar incident in 50 years that I’ve been here,” Ruttan said.
Fisher said the investigation is still in its preliminary stages and investigators are still gathering information.