The 3600-block of Shelbourne Street in Saanich remains closed Wednesday as police continue to investigate Tuesday’s bank robbery and the subsequent shootout where two suspects were killed and six officers were injured.
More than 24 hours after the initial incident, the B.C. Coroners Service left the scene at around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday with two bodies. The Saanich Police Department is scheduled to give an update on the case at 3:30 p.m.
Traffic is congested in the perimeter around the scene and the entire Shelbourne Plaza complex, along with business on the opposite side of Shelbourne between Church Avenue and Pear Street, are closed and behind police tape as the investigation continues.
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 remain evacuated.
“The information is vague on this and we’re trying to confirm it,” Saanich police Chief Dean Duthie said of the possible third suspect, during a late Tuesday afternoon press conference at department headquarters.
Six Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team officers were left with gunshot wounds. Two officers were seriously hurt and underwent surgery late Tuesday. A third officer also remains in hospital.
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.”
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