Read the latest on this developing story here: Saanich block remains closed for police investigation into bank robbery
Six officers have been injured in a bank robbery at Bank of Montreal location on Shelbourne Street near Pear Street. Two suspects were shot by police and died at the scene.
Witnesses in the area reported hearing what sounded like “at least 50” shots fired. Other witnesses reported hearing at least 15 shots.
Lily Hayward shuttered her windows and locked her doors around 11:30 a.m. after hearing fireworks-like rapid fire.
“I realized that it was definitely gunshots and assumed that if something was happening that it could be people with guns running,” the resident of the area said.
Within minutes she heard emergency sirens before fire and police crews arrived and quickly closed off the area.
“It was a bit unsettling,” she said noting that her roommate was shaken up about it.
“It was a lot of shots,” Hayward said, adding it sounded like two different kinds of guns – one firing rapidly and another that needed reloading.
“It really did sound like fireworks because of how fast it was going off and then how frequent it was.”
The Saanich Police Department issued a shelter-in-place advisory for the area of North Dairy Road to Cedar Hill Cross Road and Richmond Road to Cedar Hill Road. That was lifted shortly before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Police also evacuated homes and businesses within close proximity to the Shelbourne and Pear streets intersection due to the presence of a potential explosive device. The RCMP bomb squad was called over from the mainland and as of 9 p.m., was still on scene.
Officers are evacuating homes & businesses within a close proximity to the scene of the incident – a bank at the intersection of Shelbourne St & Pear St (3600-blk Shelbourne St) – due to the presence of a potential explosive device. Please continue to avoid the area. #yyj
— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) June 28, 2022
Emergency responders from across the region were also called in to help.
In response to a tweet from Saanich police, Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes tweeted the following: “Our hearts go out to our officers, bank staff and residents … no words can describe how horrendous this is.”
Police have set up an online portal for people to submit any photos or videos of the incident.
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