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Saanich block remains closed for police investigation into fatal bank robbery

Saanich, Victoria and Esquimalt mayors issue joint statement calling for support
Police stand watch over the scene of a bank robbery Tuesday in Saanich which left two suspects killed and six police officers injured. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)

The 3600-block of Shelbourne Street in Saanich remains closed Wednesday as police continue to investigate Tuesday’s BMO Bank robbery and the subsequent shootout where two suspects were killed and six officers were injured.

Just after midnight, Saanich police said media will be updated when the area reopens for public access.

Police on Tuesday evening said they did not uncover any further indication of a potential third suspect and lifted a shelter-in-place advisory shortly before 6:30 p.m. The bomb squad was still on the scene at 9 p.m. due to a potential explosive device in a vehicle believed to be associated with the suspects. Nearby homes and businesses remained evacuated.

“The information is vague on this and we’re trying to confirm it,” Saanich police Chief Dean Duthie said during a late afternoon press conference at department headquarters.

Six Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) officers were left with gunshot wounds. The most recent update on their condition said some were expected to be released from emergency treatment while others with serious injuries were undergoing surgery.

Three of the injured GVERT officers are members of the Saanich Police Department, while the others are members of the Victoria Police Department. No civilians were injured during the initial incident.

The two suspects who police said were wearing some sort of body armour, died at the scene after being shot by police.

The mayors and police board chairs of Saanich, Victoria and Esquimalt issued a joint statement Wednesday morning.

“Yesterday in a terrible and violent act, three officers from Saanich and three from Victoria were injured in the line of duty, some with very serious injuries. When these kinds of actions happen our police departments and our communities that support them are shaken to the core … We stand beside each other and we take care of those most affected, including the psychological trauma of being involved in an incident like this.”

The mayors thanked the departments across the region and province who offered assistance.

“To the public, incidents like the one … remind all of us of the courage it takes to be a police officer and of the selfless service of all our officers as they serve our communities on a daily basis, not knowing what a shift might bring. Finding ways to show support in the coming days and weeks is really important.”

READ: 2 suspects killed, 6 officers shot after daytime bank robbery in Saanich

READ: Witnesses report ‘at least 50’ shots fired after brazen bank shooting in Saanich

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About the Author: Saanich News Staff

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