An online fundraiser to benefit police officers injured during the shootout at a Saanich, B.C. bank earlier this week has raised more than $75,000 in less than two days.
The GoFundMe page is endorsed by the unions representing Saanich and Victoria police officers and had surpassed $78,000 as of 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The fundraiser’s stated goal is $100,000.
Officers from the Victoria and Saanich police departments responded to a robbery in progress at the Bank of Montreal on Shelbourne Street in Saanich Tuesday morning. In the ensuing standoff, six of them were shot.
As of Thursday, three of the injured officers remained hospitalized.
In an update on the case Saturday morning, the BC RCMP’s Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit – which is leading the ongoing investigation – referred questions about the injured officers’ health to the municipal departments.
CTV News reached out to both departments for an update Saturday.
The Victoria Police Department said in an email that three of its officers were shot during the incident and one remained in hospital as of Saturday.
“All face a long road ahead,” said spokesperson Bowen Osoko in the email.
The remaining injured officers work for the Saanich Police Department. Spokesperson Const. Markus Anastasiades confirmed two of the department’s officers remained in hospital Saturday, but added that Saanich police have no new information on their condition to share.
“It is nice to know everyone is asking and reaching out, showing their concern and overall empathy during this entire tragic incident,” Anastasiades said in an email.
Officials from both departments have thanked the public for their support in the wake of Tuesday’s incident. On Saturday, Osoko reiterated that sentiment.
“The continued support from the public is heartwarming and incredible,” Osoko said. “Last night, at Victoria’s Canada Day celebrations, people put on blue #GVERT (Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team) stickers by the thousands and Cst. Cam MacIntyre was invited up on stage to thank the Victoria crowd for their support.”
According to the GoFundMe page, “multiple sworn and civilian members of the Saanich Police Association (SPA) and Victoria City Police Union (VCPU) have been physically and mentally injured” by the shooting, and some of the officers who were shot are “facing life-altering injuries.”
“The SPA and VCPU have created a joint committee in an effort to ensure our members and their families are taken care of during this time,” the fundraising page reads.
“Many expenses are expected to arise over the coming months and potentially long-term. The money raised will allow us to provide continued support to our members in a variety of ways, including but not limited to accommodation and transportation for families of those who are in hospital, psychological support, modifications to homes to allow for future transition from hospital and much more.”
The two gunmen involved in the robbery were shot and killed at the scene. On Saturday, the VIIMCU identified them as 22-year-old twin brothers Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie.