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HomeNewsIsland & CoastIIO clears police of wrongdoing in Saanich, B.C. bank robbery

IIO clears police of wrongdoing in Saanich, B.C. bank robbery

The Independent Investigations Office says it has not found any potential wrongdoing by police in the deaths of Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie outside a Saanich bank earlier this year.

The 22-year-old brothers from Duncan died in a hail of police bullets on June 28 as they left a Bank of Montreal after a robbery.

They were heavily armed and wearing body armour.

Six members of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team were injured in the exchange of gunfire.

Chief civilian investigator of the IIO, Ronald MacDonald says there are no grounds to believe the responding police officers committed an offence and the matter will not be referred to Crown Counsel for charges.

He goes on to conclude that “several officers showed remarkable courage under potentially deadly circumstances and should be commended for what they did to protect and then offer aid to their colleagues.”

MacDonald says the Auchterlonie brothers equipped themselves for an extremely serious armed confrontation with police and reacted to officers with “unbridled violence.”

The IIO report says that as the GVERT van side door was fully opened, officers armed with rifles who were preparing to step out were struck by incoming bullets, but it was unclear who fired first.

However, in his report MacDonald says that one of the pair reacted to the arrival of police by turning in their direction and raising his rifle.

Whether he pulled the trigger at that exact moment, or not, he was a bank robber leaving the scene of the crime, and was pointing a high-powered assault rifle at police.

In those circumstances, he posed a clear and imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm to officers and to the public, and the use of lethal force in response was justified.

One of the brothers was struck in the head by a police bullet and fell to the ground as he was moving towards their parked car.

A witness told investigators the other brother was shot several times but was still firing at police before he fell.

The Auchterlonie brothers attended Frances Kelsey Secondary School in Mill Bay.

Neither was known to police at the time of their deaths.

The IIO investigates deaths or injuries in B.C. that are related to police actions.

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