Warning: This story and video contain graphic content that may be of concern to some.
At least five people were injured after officers exchanged fire with armed suspects who entered a bank on Shelbourne Street on Tuesday.
Two people have been arrested, but a suspect may still be at large, prompting police to advise residents of the area to seek refuge.
ADVISORY: LOCATION IN PLACE
If you are in the North Dairy Rd area to Cedar Hill X Road & Richmond Rd to Cedar Hill Rd – please shelter in place. Two suspects are in custody. Officers are searching the area for a possible additional suspect. Please stay in your home. # yyyy
– Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) June 28, 2022
Residents in the North Dairy Road area to Cedar Hill Cross Road and Richmond Road to Cedar Hill Road were asked to shelter in place. The order remained active from kl. 13.10 when police said they were continuing their search for a possible third suspect.
The police also announced at. 13.30 that they were evacuating homes and businesses near the incident, Bank of Montreal on Shelbourne Street, due to the presence of a potential explosive.
“Please continue to avoid the area,” police said.
Police officers at the scene of a shooting on Shelbourne Street in Saanich, 28 June 2022. (CHEK News)
Officers were first called to the area at Shelbourne and Pear streets after armed suspects were reported at the bank sometime between 1 p.m. 11 and 11:30.
Police asked the public to avoid the area as the police incident unfolded, telling CHEK News that it was an “incident under development.”
Police tweeted about 20 minutes later that they “continue to send officers” to the area, and reissued a plea to people to avoid the area.
Reports surfaced on social media from people reporting that they could hear shots in the area.
BC Emergency Health Services confirmed that several ambulances were called to the area around 1 p.m. 11:20. Five patients were transported to the hospital with unknown injuries. Their current circumstances are unknown. EHS crew remained on site Tuesday afternoon.
Video shared with CHEK News shows several police officers running towards the Bank of Montreal branch at Shelbourne while shots are constantly sounding.
The owner of Oregano’s Pizza, located in Shelbourne Plaza on Shelbourne by Pear, said he saw several police vehicles with lights on in front of McDonald’s on Shelbourne around 6 p.m. 11:10, with another next to TD Bank.
“Everyone had their … weapons out on the side,” Jason Venkaya said. “I knew something was going down. About 10 minutes later we heard shots and they locked the place down.”
Witness Mark Woolsey said he heard a “barrage of gunfire” coming from Pear near Shelbourne before officers asked him to seek cover inside his workplace nearby.
He spoke to a witness to an exchange of gunfire in Saanich, Mark Woolsey, who said he heard a “barrage of gunfire” coming from the corner of Pear and Shelbourne before being told to seek cover inside as dozens of police officers rushed towards the shot, weapons out. @CHEK_News pic.twitter.com/kNRiRsrAC4
– Kori Sidaway (orkorisidaway) June 28, 2022
Police have not yet confirmed whether the injured were officers, suspects or civilians.
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes issued a tweet in which he said the district’s hearts “go out to our officers, bank staff and residents”, calling the situation “terrible”.
Our hearts go out to our officers, bank staff and residents… no words can describe how awful this is…
– Fred Haynes, Mayor of Saanich (@HaynesSaanich) June 28, 2022
The Independent Investigation Bureau, which is investigating all police incidents resulting in death or serious injury, confirmed to CHEK News that it is investigating Tuesday’s exchange of fire.
Saanich Police say with many photos and videos of the incident floating around the web that they have created a “digital evidence collection portalFor witnesses to send them directly to investigators.
This is a breaking news story. More on the way.
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