At least 2 shot dead at Canada timber mill, suspect in custody

Former employee arrested and confirmed as the gunman in a fatal shooting at British Columbia sawmill, police say

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 May, 2014, 2:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 May, 2014, 2:15pm

Police arrested a 47-year-old man accused of opening fire at a British Columbia lumber mill where he used to work, killing two people and injuring two others.

Police Superintendent Mark Fisher said on Wednesday the man opened fire in the parking area and then in the mill’s office. He said they seized a shotgun at the scene.

Two victims were pronounced dead at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, police said. The shooting occurred at a Western Forest Products sawmill in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island.

The Island Health Authority said one victim was airlifted to a hospital in Victoria in critical condition and another was in a hospital in Nanaimo in stable condition.

“This kind of tragedy is almost unknown in British Columbia.”
BC Premier Christy Clark

Western Forest Products President and CEO Don Demens confirmed the suspect is a former employee.

“We’re a local BC company and it’s very tragic,” Demens said.

Police received a call at about 7am saying shots had been fired and said they arrived at the mill within minutes.

Officers hadn’t released any information about the victims, the suspect or a potential motive for the shooting.

“We are only five hours into this investigation,” he said. “This type of extreme violence is very rare.”

At the mill, crying family members had gathered outside the facility, awaiting word about whether their loved ones were hurt. One worker said the mill’s employees had been sent home.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark expressed shock.

“This kind of tragedy is almost unknown in British Columbia,” Clark said. “Most of us here today cannot imagine what the victims and their families must be going through. They should know they are not alone. The people of British Columbia are standing with them.”

Such public shootings in Canada are rare.

In March, a man was shot and killed after opening fire in a courthouse just outside Toronto, injuring a police officer.