BMO bank in Saanich reopens to customers weeks after attempted robbery left two dead

BMO bank in Saanich reopens to customers weeks after attempted robbery left two dead

It’s back to business at a bank in Saanich after an attempted robbery that resulted in fatal gunfire left the branch shuttered for several weeks.

The doors to BMO Bank of Montreal’s Shelbourne Street branch reopened to customers at 10 a.m. Tuesday following a three-week closure stemming from the police and suspect-involved shootout late last month.

“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,” according to a BMO spokesperson.

Around 11 a.m. on June 28, a police report led officers from Saanich Police, VicPD and the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) to the BMO after two armed men had entered the bank.

Shelli Fryer was in the bank at the time and, in a subsequent interview with CHEK News, recalled her terrifying memories of hiding under a chair and being one of two-dozen people held hostage.

“I grabbed my cell phone and called 911. I whispered and whispered,” said Fryer.

A gunfight ensued with the suspects, identified as twin brothers Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie from Duncan, shot dead by police as six GVERT officers — three from Saanich Police and three from VicPD — suffered gunshot wounds.

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, which has assumed conduct of the investigation, has not provided any new details since confirming the twins’ identities.

The Saanich Police Association (SPA) and Victoria City Police Union (VCPU) launched a “joint committee” to ensure their members and families are taken care of during this time, with a GoFundMe seeking funds to aid injured officers now exceeding $266,000 in donations.

In an open letter, BMO regional president James Kitamura thanked emergency services members for their courage and bravery and noted that the company had donated to the SPA and VCPU’s relief fund. 

READ MORE: Saanich officer injured in bank shooting moved out of ICU, VicPD officer released from hospital

READ MORE: ‘I grabbed my cell phone and called 911’: Woman trapped inside Saanich bank with armed men recounts terrifying experience

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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