The Saanich bank where six police officers were wounded and two gunmen died reopened on Tuesday — exactly three weeks after the robbery and shootout.
The parking lot of the BMO branch on Shelbourne Street where one of the gunmen lay in a pool of blood was scrubbed clean, and new windows were installed with a large sign on the entrance that reads: “Thank you for your courage, bravery and support. We stand together. BMO.”
Two security guards were posted at the front entrance and said they will be there all week, and longer during opening hours.
In a statement Tuesday, Bank of Montreal spokesman Jeff Roman said: “Our whole team is grateful for the outpouring of support we’ve received from our community and we were pleased to welcome our customers back today.”
Six officers of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team — three from Saanich and three from Victoria — were wounded June 28 as they responded to the robbery call and exchanged fire with two armed men in body armour and masks.
The two suspects were later identified as 22-year-old brothers Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie of Shawnigan Lake, part of a set of triplets. They were shot dead as the police secured the bank. A police van at the scene was riddled with bullet holes and the bank’s windows were broken from the gunfire. The motivation for the robbery and shootout remains unknown.
Shiwani Gupta, who banks at the Shelbourne BMO branch, arrived Tuesday afternoon to deposit a cheque and to wish the staff well.
“I’m a nurse and a first responder and I feel sorry for the people who work here,” said Gupta, who lives near the bank. “I felt very unsafe for several days,” she said. “It was pretty scary.”
She used to live in Fort St. John and thought Saanich would be a “safe city.” Now she’s not so sure.
Gupta said she’s grateful for the police action and wished all the officers a speedy recovery from their wounds.
Three of the six injured officers were released from hospital on the day of the shootings. Two remain in hospital.
An online fundraising account set up by the Saanich Police Association and the Victoria City Police Union to help the injured officers has collected $266,577 so far.
The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit is conducting the investigation and has provided no new details.
— With files from Carla Wilson
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