Brothers in Saanich bank robbery wanted to kill cops, police say

Robbers were out to kill

UPDATE 12:25 p.m.

The motive for two brothers who were fatally shot by police during a Saanich bank robbery last June was to kill officers, not to get money, investigators said Friday.

Matthew and Isaac Auchterlonie, both 22 and part of a set of triplets, were shot by police responding to the robbery at the Bank of Montreal on Shelbourne Street at Pear Street on June 28, 2022.

Police said Friday that the men expected they would die.

An investigation into the robbery and shooting determined that the Auchterlonie brothers acted alone and were intent on “causing serious harm.” Their primary objective was to shoot and kill police officers” in an act of anti-government retaliation, especially with regards to firearms ownership, police said.

Their family, who identified them for police, was shocked by what happened, police said, and the men were not known to police.

A report released last month by B.C.’s civilian-oversight agency said officers fired as many as 100 rounds at the men, who were armed with semi-automatic rifles and wearing body armour.

None of the bank employees or customers, who were herded to a back part of the bank, were harmed physically.

Three Saanich police officers were wounded at the crime scene. One is back at work and the other two are going through what Saanich Police Chief Dean Duthie has said is expected to be a long recovery.

Three Victoria officers were also wounded. One has returned to the job and two are recovering.

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit said the brothers drove to Saanich from Mill Bay and picked the bank at random. They had 3,500 rounds of ammunition, along with body armour.

IIO investigation did not determine who fired first

In its report, the B.C. Independent Investigations Office cleared police of any wrongdoing in the deaths of the robbers. The IIO, a civilian-oversight agency that examines police-related incidents involving death or serious injury, concluded that officers were justified in using lethal force.
The IIO report revealed for the first time how the incident unfolded.

The investigation found the incident began just after 11 a.m. when the brothers drove into the parking lot. They left the trunk of their car slightly open and walked to the bank entrance. Both wore gloves and black balaclava-style masks. Olive-coloured body armour could be seen under their baggy windbreakers. Their lower legs were encased in rigid protection and they were wearing combat boots, said the report.

Each was armed with a 7.62 mm calibre SKS semi-automatic rifle with an extended magazine.

The robbers were able to obtain only a very limited amount of cash and appeared to be ­disappointed. They spent several minutes pacing and looking out windows into the parking lot. They did not attempt to escape, the report said.

Saanich police and members of the GVERT arrived in the area in response to the robbery report.

Sixteen minutes after they entered the bank, the robbers went to the front door, still carrying their rifles with the muzzles pointed down.

They walked out into the parking lot, turning to the right in the direction of their parked car. At the same moment, the GVERT van carrying seven officers turned into the parking lot.

Despite its extensive ­investigation, the IIO was not able to determine who fired first.

The IIO investigation found both gunmen fired all their rounds in the direction of the police van. Two bullets crossed Shelbourne Street, striking the window of a bistro. The other hit a drycleaners, lodging in a blanket on a shelf above the heads of staff and customers.

Both gunmen died in the exchange of gunfire. Some of the wounded officers were taken to hospital in police vehicles because of security concerns for the paramedics.

A large cache of weapons, ammunition and improvised explosive devices were found in the trunk of the brothers’ car.

ORIGINAL 6:35 a.m.

Police will release the results of their investigation into the dramatic shootout last June in which two gunmen were killed outside a Victoria-area bank branch.

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit will hold a media briefing today to answer questions about the gun battle between police and 22-year-old twin brothers from Duncan, B.C., outside a Bank of Montreal branch in Saanich.

A report released last month by B.C.'s police watchdog said officers fired as many as 100 rounds at Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie, who had semi-automatic rifles and were wearing body armour.

The report said its investigators found no grounds to believe there was wrongdoing by the officers, and in fact, "they were justified in using force to achieve those ends."

Six officers were wounded, three of them with life-threatening injuries.

None of the bank employees or customers, who were herded to a back part of the bank, were harmed physically.

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