‘I just pray that they are going to be fine’: Witnesses recall violent shooting at B.C. bank

Fabien Cousineau had just stepped outside after buying some bicycle parts Tuesday morning when a police officer came and told him not to move.

Unable to get to his truck, Cousineau stayed where he was. Across the street, in his neighbourhood of Saanich, B.C., north of Victoria, was a Bank of Montreal.

“I was looking and there was some policemen making their way with a police dog to the bank and that’s when I said to myself, ‘Well, I think there’s a holdup at the bank,'” he told CTV News Vancouver Island, becoming emotional at times as he recalled the events.

“And as soon as I said that, guns started, glass shattered, and saw some policemen falling down.”

He remembers seeing one person, a “thief,” who appeared to be shot, while police pulled wounded officers back to safety and placed them into cruisers before driving away.

“I just pray that they are going to be fine,” Cousineau said.

Multiple officers from Saanich Police, the Victoria Police Department and Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team had responded to a report of armed suspects at a bank in the 3600 block of Shelbourne Street at approximately 11 a.m. local time.

Police say two armed suspects began firing at police when they arrived.

Officers then returned fire, killing the two suspects. Six police officers are in hospital with gunshot wounds because of the shooting.

Three of the six officers shot were members of Saanich police, while the other three are from the Victoria Police Department.

“At this time we anticipate that some officers will be released following emergency treatment, whereas other officers sustained very serious injuries and have been taken into surgery,” Saanich Police Chief Const. Dean Duthie said at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Cleo Gagner and her son had just finished shopping at a nearby veterinary clinic when they heard what appeared to be multiple gunshots.

“I’ve never heard gunshots that loud and that fast before,” she said.

They and a couple of others ran back into the vet’s office and waited.

Not long after, more police officers began to arrive, their guns drawn.

“I don’t think anyone woke up and thought that this is going to happen like this today. I’m really sad for their families,” she said.

With files from CTV News Vancouver Island

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