Saanich Shooting: Bank Client Recounts 'Surreal Experience'

Saanich Shooting: Bank Client Recounts Her “Surreal Experience”

Shelli Fryer expresses with great emotion her gratitude to the police officers who intervened during the shooting.

Shelli Fryer was making her first visit as a customer to the BMO branch in Saanich, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, when the bank was the scene of a shooting on Tuesday. With emotion and gratitude towards the police officers who intervened, she retraces the thread of the events which she witnessed in spite of herself.

It was very, very calm. It was not frenetic, crazy, chaotic as one imagines, says the 59-year-old resident of Langford, not far from Saanich.

Shelli Fryer was meeting with the bank manager when she heard the sound of an explosion followed by a heavy silence. The manager then told her in a calm tone, we are being robbed, she says.

The client says she looked through the doorway from the door and saw a man in black combat gear and holding an assault weapon. He was wearing a balaclava and a bulletproof vest, she recalled.

Police cordoned off the scene of the shooting in Saanich, on the island of Vancouver.

The suspects she observed were completely calm, she describes. One of them addressed the manager saying vault. The latter then handed him the keys before following him outside the office.

The second suspect was pacing the hallway, says Shelli Fryer, as if patiently waiting for something. At one point, she believed three robbers were inside the bank, but police have yet to confirm if there is a third suspect.

Around 11:04 a.m., Shelli Fryer said she called 911 on her cell phone, whispering on the office floor as the manager led the robbers to the bank vault.

She was left alone for a brief moment before the robbers herded the twenty or so people present in the bank against a wall at the back of the establishment, where they waited for what seemed like a moment. eternity.

“We didn't hear anything outside at all, we couldn't hear the sirens.

— BMO client Shelli Fryer

Then a voice called out police!, about 15 minutes after she called. It was then that numerous shots rang out and everyone inside the bank sought cover.

Shelli Fryer expresses with great emotion her gratitude to the police officers who intervened during the shooting. My tears are for them. My tears are for their families. My tears are for their bravery, for the fact that they will get up and do it again […], she says.

Saanich Police Chief Dean Duthie said Thursday that the two suspects were shot just after exiting the building in a firefight that left six officers with the Victoria Area Tactical Group with gunshot wounds. .

He described Tuesday's scene as chaotic, tragic, dynamic and violent. According to him, it is really amazing that bank employees and the public were not injured.

On Thursday, Chief Dean Duthi spoke of a chaotic, tragic, dynamic and violent scene. (Archives)

The rapid arrival of the tactical group, in a van, is partly due to chance, said Chief Dean Duthie, since the agents, at the time of the attack, were in the process of intervening in the surroundings.

Police said on Wednesday that searches were continuing to try to find a potential third suspect, but there was nothing to suggest there were any risks to the community . Three of the six injured police officers were still in hospital, including one in intensive care, on Wednesday.

Saanich police also say explosives found in the vehicle believed to belong to the two shot suspects were transported to safety and destroyed by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) explosives squad. No further details were provided on the nature of the explosive devices, the firearms used, or the number of people present in the bank at the time of the incident.

Dean Duthie also indicated that the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crimes Unit (GICMIV) has taken over the case and considers it an attempted murder investigation.

An investigation has also been launched by the British Columbia Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the oversight body that reviews all police actions resulting in death or serious injury.

With information from On The Island, Georgie Smyth, CHEK News, and The Canadian Press

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