Police identify two brothers shot dead in botched bank robbery in Saanich, B.C.
For eight years, Justin Henry considered himself the best friend of Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie. On Saturday, the 22-year-old brothers from central Vancouver Island were named suspects in a failed robbery earlier this week at a Bank of Montreal branch in Saanich, British Columbia, a bedroom community in Victoria.
The two young men were killed in a shootout with police outside the bank on Tuesday. Six police officers were shot, three of whom suffered life-threatening injuries.
Police said they found – and then detonated – explosives in the brothers’ car, a white 1992 Toyota Camry with black racing stripes.
None of the suspects had criminal records, police said Saturday, and none were known to them.
“We understand that releasing the names of the two deceased may answer who, but there are still many unanswered questions and investigative efforts that need to take place in order to fully understand what happened and why,” said Cpl. Alex Bérubé at a press conference on Saturday.
“The motive for the armed robbery and the exchange of fire with the police has not yet been determined.”
Bérubé said the brothers were identified Friday by the BC Coroners Service. He said police have spoken to the family of the suspects and are cooperating with the investigation.
RCMP described them as twins at a press conference. But Mr Henry and several other young men and women who spoke to The Globe and Mail said they were in fact triplets and are survived by their sister Sabrina.
Mr Henry said he first met the couple in Grade 4, at Bench Elementary School in Cowichan Bay, British Columbia. The three shared a passion for Lego, the Star Wars movies and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he said.
Mr Henry described the Auchterlonie brothers, who he said grew up on a rural property on Lake Shawnigan in central Vancouver Island, as “incredibly smart”.
He could tell the two apart, but “they looked pretty identical and got it wrong all the time”.
Both were “very quiet and very shy,” he said. Until high school at Frances Kelly High School in Mill Bay, British Columbia, when they started branching out, they were like two peas in a pod: one was rarely seen without the other. . “They looked out for each other. They were a team.
Another friend, Tanner Jacobs, described them as “super nice, super nice, decent, normal kids”.
Mr Henry recalled that when they were around 15, the brothers – who came from a family of hunters and were legal gun owners – started going to the gym. “They were trained as cadets” and were interested in military training. He said they “always dress in camouflage,” adding that they “like to blow things up. That was their big interest. He said the brothers’ Instagram pages, which have been set to private, feature photos of them in tactical gear.
Sometime after high school, the brothers began to drift away from their friends, Mr. Henry and others recall. Mr Henry said he had not spoken to either of his brothers for some years. “Something had to happen for them to do something like this. They were really good kids. It takes my breath away.
Police say officers, including members of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team, were called around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning to report gunmen had entered a branch of the Bank of Montreal and that the shooting began when the suspects left the bank. It’s unclear who fired first, but as many as 50 shots were fired in the shootout, according to multiple witnesses.
Police said the investigation had so far determined there were only two suspects at the bank.
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