Two people dead after shootings at WFP mill in Nanaimo

Update: At 11:30 a.m., the B.C. Coroners Service confirmed it is investigating two deaths as a result of the incident. Police will hold a news conference at the Nanaimo RCMP detachment at noon.

Update: At noon, RCMP say suspect is a 47-year-old Nanaimo man who acted alone and is a former employee of WFP.

 

Western Forest Products operations were shut down in the Cowichan Valley Wednesday morning following a fatal shooting incident at their operation in Nanaimo.

Four people have been shot, two killed, and a suspect was taken into custody, the RCMP and a union official confirmed.

All of the victims were transported to hospital. The local health authority said one person was in critical condition and another in stable condition, but referred questions about the remaining victims to either the coroner and the RCMP, neither of which provided any additional information.

Police said they were called at about 7 a.m. after reports of shots fired, and within minutes officers were on the scene and took a suspect into custody.

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

Sarah Plank of the Island Health Authority confirmed one person was airlifted to Victoria General Hospital, where the victim’s condition was listed as critical. Another was at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in stable condition, she said.

Pat Kinney of the United Steelworkers, which represents workers at the mill, said the union was aware of the shooting but knew little else.

“At this point, we don’t know if there are any fatalities or the status of the individuals,” he said.

“We don’t have any names either at this point. (There has been) no mention of the shooter other than he has been apprehended.”

At the mill, crying family members had gathered outside the facility, awaiting word about whether their loved ones were involved.

Jim Gallant, a longtime worker at the mill, was at work Wednesday morning when the shootings began. His common-law wife Shelly McKenze said she received a text from him indicating he was OK, but they employees were told by police at the time they could not leave the building. Another worker later indicated they employees had been sent home for the day.