RCMP silent on Saanich bank shooting as last injured officer released from hospital

Click to play video: 'Duncan, B.C. twin brothers identified as dead Saanich bank robbery suspects'
Duncan, B.C. twin brothers identified as dead Saanich bank robbery suspects
Twin brothers Isaac and Mathew Auchterlonie from Duncan have been named by RCMP as the suspects who were killed in a police shootout during an attempted armed bank robbery in Saanich, B.C., on Tuesday. Kristen Robinson reports – Jul 2, 2022

The last of six police officers injured in a shootout outside a Saanich, B.C., bank in June was released from the hospital on Wednesday.

More than two months after the violent June 28 incident, however, the integrated RCMP unit leading the investigation remains silent on key details of the event.

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The officer released Wednesday was a member of the Saanich Police Department and the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team.

“Police, fire, paramedics, health care workers and of course family and friends all gathered this morning outside the Victoria General Hospital to send him off,” Saanich police said in a media release.

Three members of the unit from Saanich and three from the Victoria police department were hospitalized in the shooting that left two suspects dead.

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Saanich police said the officer would continue his recovery at home.

Click to play video: 'Saanich police say they are overwhelmed with public support'
Saanich police say they are overwhelmed with public support

Unanswered questions

Both the RCMP’s Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU) and the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) are investigating, but more than 70 days after the deadly shootout, key questions remain unanswered.

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The police watchdog told Global News on Wednesday it did not have a timeline for its investigation to conclude.

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The VIIMCU has cited the IIO’s investigation as a reason it cannot comment on events that transpired outside the Shelbourne Street Bank of Montreal branch. However, the unit has also repeatedly refused to answer questions that would not appear to have a direct bearing on that investigation.

Those questions include how many and what type of firearms were recovered from the scene, whether they were acquired legally, and where they were obtained.

Click to play video: 'Similarities between Saanich BMO robbery and 1997 North Hollywood shootout'
Similarities between Saanich BMO robbery and 1997 North Hollywood shootout

Police have also declined to reveal what kind of explosive they recovered from the suspects’ vehicle and how it was obtained, along with any possible motive for the foiled robbery and shootout.

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Who shot first, how many shots were fired, and by whom when police encountered the suspects outside the bank remains unknown. Those details are expected to become clear when the IIO presents its report on the incident.

Deadly shootout

Officers with both the Saanich and Victoria police were called to the bank around 11 a.m. on June 28 to reports of a robbery.

A witness who was inside the bank told Global News she saw one suspect wearing a balaclava and carrying an “assault rifle.”

Police said a unit with the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team, which was on an unrelated call in the area, was diverted to join the police response.

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Click to play video: 'Saanich bank hostage describes armed robbery and shootout'
Saanich bank hostage describes armed robbery and shootout

A major exchange of gunfire occurred outside the bank, leaving two 22-year-old men dead. A witness told Global News they heard multiple 30- to 40-second volleys of “machine gun” fire.

Police later said they located “multiple” improvised explosive devices from the suspects’ vehicle, a white 1992 Toyota Camry with a pair of black racing stripes. The explosives were disposed of by an RCMP bomb squad.

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RCMP have identified the suspects shot dead outside the bank as brothers Isaac and Mathew Auchterlonie of Duncan, B.C., but have said little about them other than that they were not known to police.

Pictures and videos on a now-deleted Instagram account attributed to Isaac showed a variety of firearms, some with high-capacity magazines, as well as target practice in the forest, anti-Trudeau memes, and material denoting an interest in the Second World War.


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