Nanaimo homicide victim received award for work with disabled people

Kutzner was awarded the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers in 2015. || RCMP submitted photo.
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Police have released the name of a man who died in a Nanaimo coffee shop over the weekend, at the request of his family.

The family of Eric Kutzner, 79, prepared the following statement to commemorate and acknowledge his life:

“Eric was a vibrant member of society. He volunteered and was a champion for the disabled in Creston, B.C. and for senior’s housing in Nanaimo, B.C. Eric was a smiling face at the Buzz Coffeehouse every day in the morning, coming in to make sure we had fresh muffins and almond croissants. He truly cared about his family and friends and made new friends every day in his travels around Nanaimo. His family misses him terribly.”

Kutzner was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in 2015. He dedicated numerous hours towards restoration of a property that houses and employs people with developmental and physical disabilities. He helped make it a viable farm, producing vegetables and eggs to be sold at the local market, raising sheep for wool and establishing a food processing plant for drying fruits and vegetables, according to a media release by the Governor General’s office.

The family asked that media respect their privacy and said they will not have any further statement or comment on his death or the ongoing investigation. 

James Turok, 29, faces one count of 2nd degree murder in connection with Kutzner’s death at Buzz Coffee House, according to a Nanaimo RCMP media release.

Turok was located inside the business and arrested when police attended around 9 a.m. for a check well-being call.

“Investigators are confident that based on the evidence collected to date, there was no connection between the deceased and the individual arrested at the scene, and that this was a random incident with a tragic outcome,” said Reserve Const. Gary O’Brien.

Members of the Nanaimo RCMP Serious Crime Unit carried out two search warrants in connection to the homicide.

Turok was remanded into police custody to await his next court appearance. Police said the investigation is continuing and because the case is before the courts, no further information will be released.

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