Canada

3 police remain in hospital, 1 in ICU, following Saanich bank shooting


Three police officers remain in hospital Tuesday, including one in intensive care, a week after six officers were injured and two suspects were killed in a brazen bank robbery and gunfight in Saanich, B.C.


The three hospitalized officers include two from the Saanich Police Department and one from the Victoria Police Department.


All six of the officers who sustained gunshot wounds are members of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team.


Investigators have identified the suspects who were killed in the shootout on June 28 as 22-year-old twin brothers Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie of Duncan, B.C.


The most seriously injured officer has had three surgeries and is “showing signs of improvement” in intensive care, Saanich police Chief Const. Dean Duthie said in a news conference Tuesday morning.


The injured officer, an eight-year veteran of the Saanich force, is now able to hold short conversations with family members, Duthie said.


“The very fact that he’s conversing with them will tell you the nature of his recovery at this point,” the police chief added.


“The surgical teams, the medical teams and the nursing staff have been doing extraordinary work.”


The other Saanich officer who remains in hospital is in stable condition, according to Saanich police. Victoria police declined to disclose the condition of their officer who remains in hospital.


Police initially planned to release the identities of the six injured officers at Tuesday’s press conference before abruptly announcing their names would instead be kept private.


“The potential impacts that could result by having identities released at this time made me reconsider,” Duthie told reporters.


“These officers are people. They have families, loved ones, hobbies, best friends and a passion for life,” he added.


On Monday, the mayor of Duncan told CTV News in a statement that she did not know the family of the brothers killed in the shootout.


“It is hard to believe that something like this could happen on Vancouver Island and that the two people responsible for this were from the Duncan/Cowichan Valley area,” said Mayor Michelle Staples.


“We would like to extend our love to the community of Saanich as they try to process what has taken place in their home,” Staples added.


“To the courageous officers who were injured on the job, which they do to serve their communities, we extend our heartfelt prayers for your recovery. To the all the officers, employees, customers, and their families, our thoughts are with you.”


The RCMP’s major crimes unit on Vancouver Island has taken over the investigation. British Columbia’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., is also investigating the conduct of officers who responded to the incident.

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