2 fatally shot at British Columbia sawmill; ex-employee arrested, police say

Story highlights

  • Two people fatally shot, two others injured in sawmill shooting, police say
  • A man began shooting in the parking lot before entering the building, witnesses say
  • A 47-year-old former employee is in custody, police say

Two people were shot dead and two others were injured Wednesday at a sawmill in British Columbia, police there said.

Witnesses describe a middle-aged man firing a shotgun in the parking lot of Western Forest Products in Nanaimo before entering the sawmill. Neither police nor the owner would say how many people were inside.

A 47-year-old former employee was arrested without incident, and a shotgun was recovered at the scene, police said.

Police have not released the names of the victims pending notification of next of kin.

"The families and mill employees will now have to cope with the tragedy, as does the community of Nanaimo. It's going to be a challenge," said Superintendent Mark Fisher of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Friends and family rushed to the mill to check on loved ones shortly after hearing the news. Police refused to characterize the relationship, if any, between the suspect and the victims.

"This type of extreme violence is extremely rare here," Fisher added.