Chief's update on officers injured in Saanich, B.C., bank shootout
One week after a failed bank robbery in Greater Victoria that left two suspects dead and six officers injured, the chief of the Saanich Police Department told reporters supports were being made available to all officers as three recover in hospital.
"It's very difficult to put into words. These police officers and first response partners are heroes," Chief Const. Dean Duthie said.
He provided the following update on the three officers from his department injured in the line of duty. No names are being released due to privacy concerns, although a previous media release had said that would be the case.
The most critically injured officer is still in the Intensive Care Unit. The eight-year veteran has had three surgeries so far with more anticipated.
"He continues to be surrounded by the love and the support of his family. And he's been showing signs of improvement day by day, including short conversations with his family and close friends," Duthie said.
Another officer remains in hospital in stable condition and also served eight years with Saanich Police while a third, with seven years on the force, was released after treatment.
"These officers and their families are still very deep in the recovery process. It is a day-by-day process that is full of emotion, love and protection," Duthie added.
Of the three officers from the Victoria Police Department who were injured, Duthie said one remaines in hospital and two are recovering at home.
The news conference came at the precise time a week ago, that police responded to reports of a bank robbery at the Bank of Montreal on Shelbourne Street. Several officers ran toward an active shooter situation.
"When you see the videos captured by onlookers in the area it's mind blowing that these officers didn't hesitate for a second," Duthie added.
The chief added some police officers performed trauma care prior to paramedics arrival.
The update comes as questions swirl around the suspects and the botched bank robbery. Twenty-two-year-old twins Matthew and Isaac Auctherlonie died outside a in a hail of bullets. Matthew was rejected from the Canadian Armed Forces. Isaac's Instagram account showed both images of both brothers with guns captioned with anti-government hashtags
Still investigators are cautioning against drawing any conclusions based on their social media activity.
"It is way too soon to say whether or not comments made online are connected to the motive behind the Saanich shooting at this time," Corp. Alex Bérubé, with RCMP E Division told CTV News in an email.
No other update has been planned, he added.
Duthie said community support, including a GoFundMe for injured officers that has raised nearly $200,000 is heartening. He said the department had also received flowers, hundreds of emails and cards from individuals, businesses and other policing agencies across North America.
"It fuels us, it adds to our strength and resilience as a police department that continues to [respond] to reports for service every day and every night," Duthie added.
He said supports are being offered to officers, as the entire department tries to deal with the deadly shooting.
"It's a shocking event that we're still processing," he said.
Tuesday, the District of Saanich announced municipal hall and the Craigflower Bridge would be lit up in blue as a show of support for all police officers in the region.