Saanich bank shooting leaves ‘multiple people injured’

Five people were taken to hospital and two suspects have been arrested after a shootout with police at a bank in Saanich, B.C.

Police are asking people in the area of North Dairy Road to Cedar Hill Cross Road, and between Richmond Road to Cedar Hill Road, to shelter in place as heavily armed officers search for a possible third suspect.

Multiple officers responded to the report of armed suspects at a bank in the 3600-block of Shelbourne Street before noon Tuesday.

Witness Brenda Boyd told CTV News she was walking near the intersection of Shelbourne and Pear streets when she heard at least 25 gunshots around 11:30 a.m.

She said a police officer, who was hiding behind bushes, yelled to her to leave the area immediately.

Boyd also said she saw at least three people being taken away on stretchers into waiting ambulances.

Saanich police have confirmed several people were injured in the incident. (CTV News)

B.C. Emergency Health Services says paramedics were called to the shooting at 11:21 a.m.

Seven ambulances responded to the scene and took five patients to hospital. Medics remained in the area “on standby” after 2 p.m.

Another witness to the gunfire said he was in a nearby bike shop when he saw “two policemen get shot” and saw another person lying on the ground in a nearby parking lot.

“It was just terrible,” Fabien Cousineau said. “They were dragging policemen behind a police van.”

All traffic was still being diverted from the area to allow police vehicles and medical personnel to access the scene late Tuesday afternoon.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., Saanich police said they were evacuating homes and businesses near the scene “due to the presence of a potential explosive device.”

Saanich police have confirmed several people were injured in the incident. (CTV News)

‘IT WAS RAPID GUNFIRE’

Cleo Gagner and her 15-year-old son were buying cat food in a veterinary clinic near the Bank of Montreal on Shelbourne Street when she said they heard what sounded like two gunshots.

“Boom, boom,” she told CTV News in the minutes after the incident. “And then it was rapid gunfire. Multiple gunshots from multiple shooters.”

She estimated they heard 40 to 50 shots in quick succession.

“Then a Saanich police officer started driving up towards the BMO with his door open,” she said. “He gets out of his vehicle, draws his gun… and then the gunfire escalated and he retreated away.”

The woman said she and her son ran back into the vet’s office and took shelter until things grew quiet outside.

A spokesperson for BMO says the company is “deeply saddened” by the incident.

“The safety and security of our customers and employees is our priority and our thoughts are with every person impacted by today’s events,” said spokesperson Jeff Roman.

“We thank emergency responders for their fast assistance and for helping to keep the public safe.”

Witness video obtained by CTV News shows a group of police officers amassing behind a nearby restaurant before charging down the street in a hail of audible gunfire.

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes, in a brief statement on his Twitter account Tuesday, said: “Our hearts go out to our officers, bank staff and residents… no words can describe how horrendous this is.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Leave a Comment