Sawmill manager being hailed a hero for helping end Nanaimo mill shooting
Video: A former employee of a Nanaimo, B.C. sawmill appeared in court today, charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. But as Ted Chernecki reports, the death toll could have been higher had a mill employee not intervened.
VANCOUVER – The manager of the Nanaimo sawmill is being credited for helping end the shooting at the Western Forest Products Mill on Wednesday morning.
Andy Vanger is being called a hero for helping stop the alleged gunman, Kevin Addison. Vanger was one of the first people to see what was going on and was the first point of contact with the shooter when the incident started. People who were at the mill at the time say he may have helped convince Addison to give up.
Vanger does not see himself as a hero however. His wife Laurie and his family told Global News anchor Chris Gailus they did not need a reason to know Vanger is a hero — they already knew that.
Two people were killed in the shooting, 53-year-old Fred McEachern and 61-year-old Michael Lunn of Nanaimo. Two more people were wounded.
Some friends and family members of the victims started coming down to the mill on Wednesday to leave flowers and mementos of the mill workers.
Bob Orr worked with both McEachern and Lunn and described both as ‘really good guys.’
He said Lunn was not a fan of practical jokes, as he didn’t like when people played them on him, but he always had a joke to tell others.
“He always had the funniest joke in the lunchroom,” said Orr. “He was a really good guy in that sense.”
Lunn’s sister stopped by the memorial to leave a red coloured T-shirt. She says her brother’s favourite colour was red and he always wore a red shirt. Many others dropped by to leave red shirts on the fence outside the mill.
“He was a great man, he was my hero,” she said.
Orr said Fred was the same, always happy to see you and always willing to do things for others.
“He filled up the room when he walked into it,” said Orr.
McEachern had also started coaching hockey and Orr said he was always there for the kids. “Fred would come out from the shift at the mill, he was still wearing his clothes from the mill, sawdust on his shoulders and stuff like that, and he’d come to the rink and he’s be coaching and you’d see the sawdust come off him when someone would pat him on the back,” said Orr. “I remember seeing that.”
“He was a good guy.”
GALLERY: Memorial growing outside mill
One of the surviving victims has been identified as Tony Sudar. He is the vice-president of manufacturing at Western Forest Products and his wife tells Global News he was shot in the side of the face. She says he felt like someone was behind him and when he turned around he was shot. He has now been released from hospital.
Kyle Robinson said his stepdad is “doing about as good as anyone can expect.”
“All of his focus right now is on the friends he’s lost,” said Kyle, adding that the first thing his dad did when he woke up was to ask how his friends were doing.
“I am just thankful he’s still here with us.”
Court documents have now identified the other survivor as Earl Kelly.
Addison is appearing in court Thursday afternoon.
Video: Stepson of Tony Sudar, Kyle Robinson, speaks live on the Noon News Hour Thursday
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