Police in Saanich are keeping an area near a bank evacuated as they continue to investigate a possible explosive device linked to a deadly gunfight with two suspected bank robbers.
Both suspects were shot and killed as police responded to the robbery and six officers were wounded.
Chief Const. Dean Duthie says two officers were seriously hurt and underwent surgery late Tuesday.
A third officer also remains in hospital.
Duthie says Greater Victoria’s emergency response team was not far from the Bank of Montreal when the report of the armed robbery call came in and were on scene in time to confront the suspects.
Social media videos show dozens of shots were fired and police have set up an online site to gather videos taken by witnesses.
The Independent Investigations Office, which examines all cases of police-involved injury or death in B.C., has also sent a team to the scene and is asking anyone with information to speak to its members.
Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino noted the “tremendous sacrifice” made by the officers during the bank robbery, saying his thoughts are with the community and the officers.
Mendicino was speaking in Toronto, where he made an announcement on funding to combat gun and gang violence.
He said he has reached out to B.C.’s deputy premier, Mike Farnworth, and offered his support.
“It is yet another reminder that gun violence is impacting our communities every single day.”
Area mayors of Esquimalt, Saanich and Victoria expressed their support for the “courage and selfless service” of those officers who ran toward the danger.
“To the officers who were injured and to their families, our thoughts are with you and we are sending love as you move through the following days, weeks and months in recovery,” mayors Barb Desjardins, Fred Haynes and Lisa Helps said in a statement.
“We are humbled by your service and we offer our heartfelt thanks for your courage as you stood in harm’s way to keep our communities safe.”
—The Canadian Press