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What we've learned about the deadly shootout between 2 brothers and police in Saanich, B.C.

RCMP Cpl. Alex Bérubé provides an update of the investigation into the shooting on June 28, 2022 outside a Bank of Montreal, between brothers Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie and police. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press - image credit)
RCMP Cpl. Alex Bérubé provides an update of the investigation into the shooting on June 28, 2022 outside a Bank of Montreal, between brothers Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie and police. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press - image credit)

For months, the deadly encounter between two brothers and police outside a bank on Vancouver Island was described as an attempted robbery.

But on Friday, RCMP released details of their investigation into what happened on June 28, 2022 — some of which have changed the narrative.

Between RCMP's latest information and an investigation by the Independent Investigation Office (IIO), here's what we now know about the shootout outside the Bank of Montreal on Shelbourne Street in Saanich, B.C.

Where and how did the incident unfold?

RCMP said Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie left the Mill Bay area on June 28 around 8:30 a.m., making the roughly 30-minute drive south to Saanich in their white Toyota Camry.

Over the next couple of hours, the brothers circled the block, pulling in and out of the Bank of Montreal's parking lot before finally parking the vehicle at 10:54 a.m.

Saanich Chief Const. Dean Duthie said the first 911 call came at 11:02 a.m.

Minutes later, police from the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team and Saanich Police Department responded to reports of two armed men entering the bank.

According to the IIO — which investigates police interactions where someone is killed or injured — witnesses in the bank said the brothers herded staff and customers into the vault, then started pacing the hallway and looking out the windows.

The IIO report says the Auchterlonies were exiting the bank when an unmarked van carrying seven police officers pulled into the parking lot.

Gunfire broke out almost immediately after an officer opened a sliding door to throw a flashbang device.

Six officers were struck and their medic and driver both fired back with pistols as Saanich police rushed toward the scene.

The report says one of the brothers was shot in the head as he attempted to move across the parking lot, and the other was struck several times while shooting toward the van, later trying to crawl toward his brother.

Autopsies show one brother was struck by three bullets and the other by nine.

What do we know about the suspects' motive?

RCMP said the Auchterlonies weren't after money and were holding up the bank to lure police.

"It was determined the suspects' primary objective was to shoot and kill police officers in what they saw as a stand against government regulations, especially in relation to firearms ownership," said RCMP Cpl. Alex Berube of the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit.

Neither brother had criminal records; neither were known to police or were the focus of any police agency before the incident.

Police said family were shocked by the brothers' actions and were co-operative with the investigation.

RCMP believe Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie had been planning violence since 2019, hiding a stockpile of weapons, homemade improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and body armour.

Submitted by Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit
Submitted by Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit

They said the brothers were socially isolated and spent all of their time together, worked manufacturing jobs at the same company and used most of their income to buy the gear they used in the attack.

Police said the brothers had "anti-government" and "anti-police" views, and their goal was to kill as many officers as possible.

The brothers quit their jobs the week before the shootout, and seemed to know their actions would likely result in their deaths, police said.

How did police rule out a 3rd suspect?

Police initially believed there might have been a third suspect involved with the brothers, who were two-thirds of a set of triplets.

Witnesses had varying accounts of seeing three suspects in the area, or of another individual dropping the two brothers off at the bank, police said Friday.

One hostage confused the unmarked van carrying police as potentially linked to the Auchterlonies.

These accounts, and tips regarding the suspects' vehicle potentially being connected to three people were eventually deemed inaccurate, but police said they spent hours interviewing people and reviewing footage to be sure.

Officers also canvassed the brothers' neighbourhood and spoke to family and friends to confirm the third triplet was not with Mathew and Isaac that day.

Police said they also received several reports of an individual in the Saanich area wearing camouflage in the days after the shootout, whom they later determined was unconnected to the brothers.

Where were the weapons from?

The Auchterlonies were each carrying an SKS-45 semi-automatic rifle when they walked into the bank, which they later turned on police.

They both had licenses for non-restricted and restricted firearms. While the rifles were not restricted at the time, they were outfitted with prohibited over-capacity magazines and one of the gun's serial numbers had been defaced, police said.

SKS rifles are of Russian origin and date back to the 1950s, making them impossible to trace. Police said they're not sure where the brothers, who also wore illegal body armour, got their weapons, and noted the brothers took steps to conceal where they got their equipment.

Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press
Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press

RCMP said a search of the suspects' car found four more guns — three semi-automatic rifles and a shotgun — over 30 IEDs, 3,500 rounds of ammunition and 100 ammunition magazines plus helmets, body armour, utility belts and gun pouches.

When police searched the Auchterlonie residence in the Cowichan Valley, they found more guns and ammunition, homemade IEDs similar to the ones in the car, and materials showing the brothers planned to build their own handgun.

What do we know about the injured officers?

Six specialized police officers — all trained to respond to and handle dangerous and high-risk events in the region — were injured during the shooting.

The officer most severely injured spent 71 days in hospital and underwent multiple surgeries. Saanich police Chief Dean Duthie said five of the six officers who were were hurt, all from the Saanich Police Department, are still off duty.

"There were significant physical injuries that were suffered on that day and there are still officers that have not returned to work because of those injuries," he said, adding some officers are also working through psychological trauma related to the incident, while others anticipate returning to work soon.

He thanked the community for its support and said he and his staff choose to remember the incident as a day when police actions protected and saved innocent lives.

"In doing this, significant physical, psychological and emotional injuries came as a result," he said.

"This is an event that we will never forget."