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Police say Saanich BMO robbers planned confrontation since 2019

This story may contain details that may be distressing to some readers.

Police say suspects in the Saanich BMO robbery last summer were expecting violence and had been planning a shootout since 2019.

The details come in a media briefing from BC RCMP, Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crimes Unit and Saanich Police.

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They stem from the incident on June 28, 2022 where 22-year-old twin brothers Matthew and Issac Auchterlonie converged on the bank with loaded semi-automatic SKS rifles and body armour and wearing balaclavas.

Officers, including members of the Greater Victoria emergency response team, were called to the scene. Six officers were wounded while the two men were killed at the scene. Five of the six wounded police officers are still off duty.

Following an investigation into the incident involving over 200 officers, Cpl. Alex Bérubé of BC RCMP says the duo had been planning the shootout since 2019 and intended to follow through with it in 2023.

However, their living situation was going to change, prompting them to go ahead at an earlier date.

Bérubé adds the twin brothers were motivated by anti-government, police and authority beliefs, and the 22 civilians inside the BMO bank were never the intended targets of the suspects.

He says the primary objective was to shoot and kill officers in what the two saw as a stand against government regulations relating to firearms ownership.

RCMP add the suspects acted alone, did not have any connections to police, and their friends and family likely did not know of their plans.

A white 1992 Toyota Camry with distinctive racing stripes obtained by the twins was searched, where officers found 30 improvised explosive devices, four additional firearms and over 3,500 rounds of ammunition.

A search at their residence also found improvised explosive devices and matched explosives found in the Toyota Camry. They also found both suspects had valid possession and acquisition licences for both non-restricted and restricted firearms.

Bérubé says the actions of officers saved many lives that day. Saanich Police Chief Cst. Dean Duthie says they extend their sincere gratitude to RCMP and the major crimes unit for their investigation.

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