With blood streaming from his face, Tony Sudar called the first person he could think of: his wife.
“I’ve just been shot in the face,” said Mr. Sudar, vice-president of marketing for Western Forest Products Ltd. “There’s a guy with a gun inside. I’m okay, but my friends might not be so lucky.”
It was just before 7 a.m. on a sunny Wednesday in the Vancouver Island community of Nanaimo. Mill employees were just starting to arrive for work when a lone gunman – a former employee – entered the yard with a shotgun and fired, first in the parking lot and then in an office area.
Four people were shot in all. Mr. Sudar and another man, Earl Kelly, were injured – Mr. Kelly remains in hospital, showing “steady improvement,” according to his family. Michael John Lunn, 62, and Fred James McEachern, 53, died.
At Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Mr. Sudar was most concerned about the condition of his friends and colleagues, his stepson, Kyle Robinson, said Thursday.
“He asked, ‘How many got hurt? I’ve got to call the families. I’ve got to meet with them,’ ” Mr. Robinson said, visibly shaken. “That’s the only think he could ask, how his friends are doing. He wanted to be out of the hospital to be with his friends and family.”
On Thursday, the same day Mr. Sudar was discharged from hospital, the suspected gunman – identified as Kevin Douglas Addison, 47, of Nanaimo – appeared briefly in Nanaimo Provincial Court. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Mr. Addison had scruffy brown facial hair, wore a black sweatshirt and displayed no emotion during the short proceedings, during which the Crown requested a no-contact order.
“At this time, given the nature of proceedings, Crown concluded it was appropriate to ask that there be no contact with certain potential witnesses and other individuals related to the case,” Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie later told media outside the courthouse. He would not comment on who those people are, or how long the list is.
Mr. Addison has been remanded in custody until his next appearance on May 13. Defence lawyer John Gustafson said he had just met Mr. Addison that morning and could not comment on his client’s mental state, or whether a psychiatric assessment will be ordered.
“It’s far too early to tell anything about that,” he said. “We’re just starting to get the facts now. … Right now, I just encourage anyone who’s taking any interest in this matter to wait until all the facts are in before making up their minds.”
Court records suggest Mr. Addison had some troubles in his personal life. The CIBC Mortgage Corp. named him in a 2002 civil action and one Joanne Addison named him in a 2006 family law proceeding.
Nanaimo, a city of about 88,000, has been hard hit by a forestry downturn in recent years, including layoffs at the sawmill. There has been a long-running dispute at the mill over severance pay for laid-off workers, but Pat Kinney, financial secretary for United Steelworkers Local 1-1937, said it would be unfair to draw a link.
Dean Vandale, a former employee of the Nanaimo mill, says he was good friends with the two deceased and knew Mr. Addison. “I don’t know what to say,” he said Thursday near the crime scene that was once his place of employment. “I thought he was a normal guy.”
Mr. Vandale was unaware of any conflict between the suspected gunman and Mr. McEachern, who was mill superintendent. He speculated it could have been related to the severance pay – something Mr. Vandale himself did not receive when laid off. “There are a lot of people waiting for their severance pay,” he said.
Rex Boden, who works at the mill, said Mr. Addison lost his job during the layoffs in 2008 and wasn’t rehired when part of the mill restarted a couple years later.
With a report from The Canadian Press