2 killed in mill shooting

Update -- 11:00 a.m. 

The BC Coroner’s Service has confirmed that two people died from their injuries after a gunman opened fire at a Vancouver Island sawmill early Wednesday morning.

Four people were shot in total, 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.

The shooting happened at a Western Forest Products sawmill in Nanaimo, a typically quiet coastal city located more than 100 kilometres north of Victoria.

The Mounties 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 or a potential motive for the shooting.

The 47-year-old shooter's name has not been released, but the company that owns a lumber mill says he was a former employee.

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.

Plank referred questions about the remaining two victims to the either the BC Coroners Service or the RCMP. The RCMP couldn't be reached and a spokeswoman for the corners service could not confirm whether the agency was involved.

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. One worker said the mill's employees had been sent home for the day.

The Mounties were expected to hold a news conference in Nanaimo at around noon.

Update from CTV -- 9:30 a.m.

Superintendent Mark Fisher of the Nanaimo RCMP has confirmed that four people were shot at the Western Forest Products mill, at around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.

He says all four victims have been taken to hospital and one suspect has been arrested.

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RCMP are responding to a possible shooting at the Western Forest Products mill in Nanaimo.

There is a heavy police presence in the area and an air ambulance lifted off from the scene shortly after 8 a.m.

The mill is close to the assembly wharf, not far from the city’s downtown core.

Mounties have dispatched a spokesperson to the area and are expected to release more information shortly.


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