Saanich Police Department Chief Dean Duthie speaks to the media to provide an update on the investigation into a bank robbery in Saanich which left two suspects dead and six police officers injured. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)

Saanich Police Department Chief Dean Duthie speaks to the media to provide an update on the investigation into a bank robbery in Saanich which left two suspects dead and six police officers injured. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)

LETTER: Bank robbery hostage grateful to all those who rushed to her aid

To all police forces and first responders.

Hello, I was in the bank that was robbed on June 28. I am sitting here trying to find the words to express how I feel as I am so very grateful and thankful to the officers who came to our rescue at a huge cost to many, either physically or mentally.

I am at a loss to find a way to send an all-encompassing heartfelt thank you to all who came running without hesitation.

How can I do that? How do I tell you that you will forever be in my dreams, in my thoughts, and in my heart? I’ve gone to each barrier around the bank area the day after to say thank you. It is not enough. I tear up as I type this. I need everyone to know how much it meant.

I will not describe what it was like before the shooting, and during. My share is that I (perhaps most of us, if not all) did not know officers went down. In fact, I did not find out until the following day on the news.

All I remember is being trapped in the vault with the cage (not vault door) closed, feeling like a fish in a barrel. When the officers went by clearing the rooms we were told we were safe and we’d be out soon. When all the bank staff and customers were gathered together we overheard a head office BMO employee on the phone asking about “if there were still bodies in the parking lot?”

I had walked down to the bank with my husband and he choose to wait outside. Upon hearing the phone conversation, I rushed to the officers blocking the way to the main entrance begging to see if my husband had been shot. Officer Samson assured me as did the other officers that he was not the one shot. I asked if it was the robbers. They said yes but no more.

They did not say that to get to us they had to step past fallen officers. They kept moving forward not knowing their fate. No one made any indication that anyone other than the two gunmen were down. I am grateful they kept that from us. One of the officers even went to find my husband to let him know I was OK.

The subsequent days were emotional and they still are. Knowing that there were explosives and that officers were injured wears heavily on me. The magnitude of the event, followed by a lockdown two days later that started in front of my house, has left me rattled.

I want to hide in house, I want to move, I want to erase everything. But I won’t do any of that. I have to move on, be strong, be grateful, be thankful. I have to appreciate all that I have to live for, and all of that is because of those who came to our aid when we needed it most.

How can I cower now when you have run to my aid, guided me to safety? For this, because of you and the job you choose to follow, I am here. I will go on. I hope you can too knowing how much you mean to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

This is just a small gesture but it comes from huge intentions. Take care, stay safe, be well. Know you did great!

Lesa (green sweater lady with the mask on)

Saanich