As a fundraiser for officers injured during a deadly bank shooting nearly doubles its second goal, the Saanich Police Department updated media Tuesday on the condition of its wounded members.
The department had planned to release the names of the injured members, but Chief Const. Dean Duthie said he reconsidered that decision after speaking with the officers and their families, and giving much thought to the potential impacts of publicly identifying them.
“My emphasis and my priority … is on the health and wellness of these people that are moving forward day by day,” he said during a briefing at Saanich police headquarters. “They need all their strength, their health and their support and they don’t need any extra stress or anything else that’s going to cause them to think differently.”
Six members of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) were shot during an exchange with two armed men at the BMO location at Shelbourne and Pear streets on June 28. The two bank robbery suspects were shot dead by police.
Among the three Saanich officers injured, one remains in intensive care and has undergone three surgeries, Duthie said, while a second is in stable condition. Both are eight-year veterans of the Saanich force. A third member, a seven-year member of Saanich PD, was released from hospital and is recovering at home.
Duthie said he and other members of his department are grateful for the continued outpouring of support from the community, other police departments and public figures locally and elsewhere.
A Victoria Police Department spokeperson said two of the three VicPD members of GVERT who were injured are recovering at home while the other officer remains in hospital.
We will be lighting the Municipal Hall and Craigflower Bridge in blue as a show of support from staff and the community for our Police Department and all officers of the region. Thanks for keeping us safe! 👮♂️👮♀️ pic.twitter.com/dYmF91LETU
— District of Saanich (@saanich) July 5, 2022
An online fundraiser to aid the injured officers started July 1 with a goal of $50,000. That goal was upped to $100,000 and funds raised so far surpassed $180,000 as of Tuesday morning.
The fund aims to alleviate the financial burden so members can focus on healing and being together with their loved ones, organizer Chelsea Cofield wrote on the online fundraiser’s page.
The Saanich Police Association and the Victoria City Police Union created the online fundraiser in response to requests from the community. A joint committee will distribute the funds to help in a variety of ways including accommodations and transportation for families of those in the hospital, psychological support and modifications to homes to allow for future transition from hospital.
The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crimes Unit took over the criminal investigation while B.C.’s police oversight agency, the Independent Investigation Office, conducts its own investigation.
Find the fundraiser to support officers online at bit.ly/3ukWtl2.
– with files from Christine van Reeuwyk
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