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Family of slain Nanaimo man say he was likely trying to help attacker


Family members of a Nanaimo man killed in what police call a tragic random murder say they believe their loved one was trying to help his attacker.

Eric Kutzner, 79, was murdered on Saturday morning in a brazen daylight attack at a Nanaimo coffee shop, according to police.

Kutzner's family says he arrived at the coffee shop early on Saturday to start baking and prepare to open the shop.

They suspect his kind nature likely had him invite his alleged killer inside.

"Knowing my grandpa, if this guy looked like he needed help he probably would have brought him in and made him coffee," said Kutzner's grandson, Phil Baker.

Baker worked alongside Kutzner at the family-run business, and awoke on Saturday to calls from staff saying they saw an unknown man in the business.

His staff quickly called police around 9 a.m.

"They said someone was in there with him. I don't know why anyone would be, aside from what happened," said Baker.

Baker says RCMP investigators have kept many details of what happened hidden, but confirms that what happened inside was tragic.

"I don't necessarily want all the answers," he said.

"The coroner said that there was no suffering."

On Wednesday, Kutzner's family identified him as the victim and gave details about his charitable past.

The senior was well known for helping people with disabilities and also acted as a seniors' housing advocate in Nanaimo.

In 2018, he received a Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers award for his work on a Creston, B.C., farm which employed disabled workers. 

Nanaimo RCMP arrested a 29-year-old man at the scene on Saturday morning. 

He has since been charged with second degree murder and remains in police custody.

Baker says his family and the coffee shop staff have been overwhelmed by the support the Nanaimo community has given them in this difficult time. Top Stories

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