Nanaimo mill won’t reopen for at least a week after shooting

NANAIMO — Operations at Western Forest Products’ sawmill near downtown Nanaimo will not resume until later next week at the earliest after a shooting that killed two and wounded two others.

WFP president Don Demens said Friday that while the company’s other sawmills will return to operation Monday with extra security, the Nanaimo mill, the site of Wednesday’s shooting, will remain closed.

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Michael Lunn, 61, and Fred McEachern, 53, died in the shooting. Both men were married with children.

Tony Sudar, the mill’s vice-president of manufacturing, was shot in the face, but has been discharged from Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Earl Kelly remains in critical condition at Victoria General Hospital.

Kevin Douglas Addison, 47, a former employee of the WFP sawmill, faces two charges of first-degree murder and two charges of attempted murder in connection with the incident.

Demens said the company’s focus is on ensuring that families, workers and others affected get the assistance they need.

Marlowe Lindberg, who deals with trauma victims as a registered clinical counsellor with Mid-Island Counselling, said it’s likely that the workers and family members are “in a fog” at this stage, not able to fully conceptualize what has happened, and could require counselling for some time.

Lindberg, who is not part of the teams helping the victims, said it may be weeks, or even months, before the full impact of the tragedy and what it means to the victims strikes home.

“They need help to get through this and should be given all the support and understanding that they can at this stage, but victims of traumas like this will need long-term counselling,” Lindberg said Friday from her Parksville office.

Demens didn’t say when the company planned to reopen the Nanaimo mill, but said none of the employees would be “financially impacted” by the closing, which began shortly after Wednesday’s incident.

The company is working closely with officials at Steelworkers Local 1-1937, which represents workers at its mills, to review the security of its workplaces, Demens said.

Meanwhile, the family of Lunn remembered the millwright on Friday.

“Mike Lunn was a happy, jolly soul who lived life to the fullest,” his daughter Marcy Lunn told reporters. “Mike’s life was devoted to his family and friends. He always entered and exited with a huge, warm, loving, heartfelt hug.

“He was our heartbeat.”

“Our family truly appreciates all the love and support from the community,” she continued, offering condolences to McEachern’s family and support to Kelly and Sudar.

Dennis Larose worked at the mill 11 years ago with Dunn and McEachern, his former foreman.

He also worked alongside Addison for several months.

“When my wife would be driving me to work, and Kevin would be walking, we’d pick him up,” said Larose, describing his former co-worker as quiet.

“He didn’t talk much at work. He didn’t talk about his home life or anything,” he said.

“He never complained.”

A celebration of life for Lunn will take place May 10 at 3 p.m. at Generations Church in Nanaimo.

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