SAANICH, B.C. -- Saanich police set up a command centre Wednesday morning at the scene of Tuesday’s deadly shootout following a bank robbery.

The BC Coroners Service and the Independent Investigations Office were also on scene.

The latest online update from Saanich Police at 9 p.m. Tuesday said officers would be “holding the scene overnight” and the Explosive Disposal Unit would remain in place. Homes and businesses nearby remain evacuated while officers investigate a possible explosive device linked to a deadly gunfight with two suspected bank robbers.

Multiple officers from Saanich Police, Victoria Police, and the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) responded to a report of armed suspects at a bank in the 3600 block of Shelbourne Street around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Police said when officers arrived, the two armed suspects began firing.

“There was multiple gunshots fired and again, I don’t know the exact positioning of where the suspects were when they were hit,” said Chief Const. Dean Duthie with Saanich Police.

“The fact that no citizens were injured in any way is truly amazing and I’m so grateful for it.”

Both suspects were killed in the shootout and six officers were wounded. Const. Duthie said two officers were seriously hurt and underwent surgery late Tuesday; a third officer remains in hospital.

Duthie says Greater Victoria's emergency response team was not far from the Bank of Montreal when the armed robbery call came in and arrived in time to confront the suspects.

Social media videos show dozens of shots were fired and police have set up an online site to gather videos taken by witnesses.

Saanich Police are expected to give an update Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reacted to the news on Twitter, writing in part “Like many people across the country, I am shocked and saddened by the violence in Saanich, British Columbia.”

 

The mayors of Esquimalt, Saanich and Victoria expressed their support for the “courage and selfless service” of those officers who ran toward the danger.

“To the officers who were injured and to their families, our thoughts are with you and we are sending love as you move through the following days, weeks and months in recovery,” mayors Barb Desjardins, Fred Haynes and Lisa Helps said in a statement.

“We are humbled by your service and we offer our heartfelt thanks for your courage as you stood in harm's way to keep our communities safe.”