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Man accused in Nanaimo sawmill shooting encountered financial, family pressures

Personal possessions of Fred McEachern, who died April 30, on display at a memorial service on Saturday May 10, 2014. The Nanaimo resident died during an April 30 shooting at the Western Forest Products sawmill in Nanaimo.

Hilary Eastmure/THE CANADIAN PRESS

With his mother looking on from the gallery, the suspect in the deadly Nanaimo sawmill shooting made his second appearance in court.

Kevin Douglas Addison, 47, appeared briefly in Nanaimo Provincial Court on Tuesday via video link from the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre in Victoria. He is accused of opening fire on the Western Forest Products mill in Nanaimo – his former place of employment – killing two and injuring two others.

The matter was adjourned until June 10 to give police time to gather information to forward to prosecutors, Crown spokeswoman Samantha Hulme said. The Crown will then review the information and forward it to the defence counsel.

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"When the defence counsel feels they have sufficient information on the case, they'll make a decision as to whether or not to have a bail hearing," Ms. Hulme said.

Outside the courthouse, Mr. Addison's mother told CTV News she is "doing okay" and that the family is "sticking together."

Defence lawyer John Gustafson said his client is "doing as well as he can under these circumstances," and many questions remain about the April 30 incident.

"Right now, we know very little about what happened, what happened before," he said. "There's been a general report about what happened, but we don't have the specifics yet, and obviously that's something that's very, very important to what we're going to be doing."

It is still too early to determine whether a psychiatric assessment will be ordered, but the option will be considered, Mr. Gustafson said.

Michael Lunn and Fred McEachern died in the early-morning shooting. Tony Sudar and Earl Kelly are recovering from serious injuries.

Court records obtained by The Globe and Mail suggest Mr. Addison had encountered financial and family pressures over the years. In late 1993, Mr. Addison and Joanne Eileen Addison took out a mortgage on a modest residential property on Hamilton Avenue in Nanaimo. The relationship between the two is unclear.

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A former owner of the property recalled the beautiful mountain views off the back deck and the transient nature of the neighbourhood. The area is commonly called Harewood, although efforts have been made to rebrand it as the University District for its proximity to Vancouver Island University.

But by 2002, the pair had defaulted on the mortgage, having appeared to make only minimal payments over the years. The principal sum advanced under the mortgage was $119,771; by June, 2002, the sum due and owing was $102,860. By October, the property was foreclosed and sold.

Four years later, Joanne Addison named Kevin Addison in a family law proceeding.

Two years after that, in December, 2008, Western Forest Products curtailed production at its Nanaimo mill – where Mr. Addison was a long-time employee – in response to a forestry downturn. All employees were laid off and a dispute over severance pay followed. In November, 2010, the company re-activated a portion of the mill, rehiring only a fraction of the workers.

"He didn't get hired back when the rest of us got hired back," said Rex Boden, a mill worker who remembered Mr. Addison as friendly.

Dean Vandale, who worked at the Nanaimo mill from 1993 until the 2008 closing, said most employees did not receive severance pay, himself included. He called the two people killed "great guys," and Mr. McEachern "the best foreman I've ever had."

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Based in Vancouver, Andrea Woo is a general assignment reporter with a focus on multimedia journalism. More

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