Saanich, B.C., bank shooting motive may never be known, says criminologist
Questions of what would motivate twin brothers to enter a British Columbia bank dressed in body armour and prepared for a gun battle remain unanswered, but a criminologist sees similarities to two other young men who terrified Canadians in 2019.
Prof. Robert Gordon from Simon Fraser University's school of criminology said there are parallels with the Saanich bank shootout last week and the murders of three people in B.C. and the subsequent suicides of their killers.
A manhunt for Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, lasted nearly a month in the summer of 2019 before they were found dead in northern Manitoba.
Twenty-two-year-old Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie of Duncan, B.C., were killed by police in a shootout that left six officers injured outside a Bank of Montreal branch in Saanich on June 28.
Police have said the men also had explosive devices in their vehicle.
“There's a bigger issue here, and I find it kind of fascinating, is the infectious nature of some of this stuff,” Gordon said in an interview.
The minds of men who are drawn to firearms and not doing “very well” in life are intriguing, he said, noting the failed application of one of the twins to join the armed forces.
“What gets into the minds of these young men is beyond belief.”
A statement from the Canadian Armed Forces said Mathew Auchterlonie had applied to be part of the military but didn't pass the aptitude test.
Isaac Auchterlonie participated in the Soldier for a Day program in 2018, it said.
“As the name implies, the program lasts one day, and participants are provided a certificate at the end as a keepsake,” it said. "It's not a training activity, but more of a simple “open house”, and often a type of field trip for high school classes.“
Neither man has ever been part of the Canadian Armed Forces in any way, it added.
Three officers remain in hospital, including one who is in intensive care after three surgeries.
A classmate of the twins described the men as “shy and quiet.”
Courtney Dougan lives in Cobble Hill and attended Frances Kelsey Secondary School in Mill Bay, B.C., with the twins.
“I was not friends with the Auchterlonie brothers,” she said. “They were very to themselves. I mainly saw them in passing through halls or in classrooms. They were very nice kids.”
Having gone to school with two men now involved in a bank shootout is “very weird and strange,” she said.
“We're all very shocked still. It's a very tight community around here,” Dougan said. “(I'm) just very surprised and just feel awful for the family going through this.”
Gordon called the bank robbery and subsequent shootout a “tragedy of wasted life, wasted talent.”
“Because they get caught up in some bizarre mixture of entertainment and news, and decide to create their own reality.”
Comparisons have been made to the shootout with the North Hollywood Bank of America robbery in 1997 where two robbers were killed in a hail of gunfire.
Gordon said some police departments use footage from that shootout for training purposes to understand what went wrong and what was done right.
The main issue of that robbery was the heavy firepower used by the robbers while the police were not that well-armed, he noted.
“What happened a week ago in Victoria, bears some similarity in that it was a small, suburban bank that was attacked,” he said.
“But the guys who were involved with the North Hollywood bank robbery, were older men, experienced men who had done crimes before and who were carrying a lot of really serious firepower.”
Saanich Police Chief Const. Dean Duthie said he is not aware if the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team has viewed the North Hollywood robbery video.
“But I know that the training, the research and the connections to ensure that they are prepared for the most dangerous situations is something that they do.”
The emergency response team was in the area last Tuesday on another matter and changed course to immediately respond to the robbery call at the bank, police have said.
Gordon said he understands that there are a number of questions about what happened last week, and people might look to that old shooting for answers. But these would be questions police and the Independent Investigations Office have on their list as well, he added.
“And foremost is, what kinds of firearms were being used.”
RCMP spokesman Cpl. Alex Berube said investigators have made some initial evaluations about the weapons used by the twins, but further analysis is needed.
“We are not in a position at this time to provide further specifics,” he said in an email.
Police have not been able to establish a motive either, Berube said.
“Every investigation has theories and investigators need to gather information and evidence and ultimately eliminate or confirm those theories or even follow the evidence to other possibilities.”
Gordon said the true motive of the armed bank robbery by the twins may never be known.
“Usually the motive is cash. That's the purpose of a robbery. You're not doing it for any other reason,” he said.
“So, they were probably out to get some quick and easy money. And or do it with a bit of excitement. Usually people who rob banks, there aren't that many of them anymore, do it purely for the cash. It's a question with an obvious answer, in many respects.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2022.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
American actor Anne Heche will be taken of life support on Sunday, nine days after suffering severe injuries in a fiery car crash, as a compatible person was found to receive her donated organs, a spokesperson said.
Weapon in deadly 'Rust' film set shooting could not be fired without pulling the trigger, FBI forensic testing finds
FBI testing of the gun used in the fatal shooting on the movie set of 'Rust' found that the weapon handled by actor Alec Baldwin could not be fired without pulling the trigger while the gun was cocked, according to a newly released forensics report.
About 4,000 beagles are looking for homes after animal rescue organizations started removing them from a Virginia facility that bred them to be sold to laboratories for drug experiments.
A sport utility vehicle crashed into a North Carolina fast-food restaurant on Sunday, killing two sibling customers, police said.
Republicans stepped up calls on Sunday for the release of an FBI affidavit showing the underlying justification for its seizure of documents at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.
Warming climate could see a future California flood become the world's costliest disaster, study suggests
A new study is offering a dire prediction for the U.S. state of California, where scientists say catastrophic flooding could become twice as likely in the future due to the effects of climate change.
Authorities in Norway said Sunday they have euthanized a walrus that had drawn crowds of spectators in the Oslo Fjord after concluding that it posed a risk to humans.
Pennsylvania state police say a man who was upset about an argument with his mother drove through a crowd at a fundraiser for victims of a recent deadly house fire, killing one person at the event and injuring 17 others, then returned home and beat his mother to death.
A new study suggests that Antarctica’s ice shelves may be melting faster than previously believed, which is causing sea levels to rise at a more rapid pace and accelerating the dangers of climate change.
Three people were rescued and dozens more have been displaced after a third-alarm blaze at a Burnaby apartment complex in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to the fire department.
'They wanted it to be real': Main character in new Netflix animated series brought to life by B.C. girl
A B.C. girl is making her voice acting debut in a new animated Netflix series, saying she's excited that they chose her to bring the spunky, South Asian lead to life.
A woman has been charged with assault after an 89-year-old man was knocked to the ground in Vancouver's Chinatown, police say.
Jason Kenney and United Conservative Party leadership hopeful Danielle Smith traded words about her proposed sovereignty act this weekend, with Smith saying the premier should not interfere in the contest.
Police are asking Whitecourt residents to avoid Rotary Park Outdoor Waterpark as crews search for a missing child swimmer.
Edmonton basketball players faced off against each other in a four-on-four streetball tournament this weekend.
The cost of renting a home in Ontario rose more than almost every other province in Canada last month, according to a new national analysis of online listings.
As the CNE readies to open this Friday, one Toronto MPP is expressing concerns about safety possibly being compromised at the 18-day fair due to ride and equipment inspectors being on strike.
'A dangerous sign:' More than a dozen school trustee and council candidates could be elected by default
Candidates in more than a dozen councillor and school trustee races in Toronto could be formally elected in a week’s time, unless some last-minute challengers step forward.
Several people were hurt, but Calgary police say an incident where a truck drove through a restaurant window will not lead to charges being laid.
Officials are investigating after a fire broke out inside a vacant building in northwest Calgary early Sunday morning.
Quebec's new language law has dozens of municipalities in the province shoring up their bilingual status, with few considering giving up the right to serve their citizens in both English and French.
Voters interested in the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) may be disappointed by its platform, announced Sunday in Drummondville, as it is silent on many issues and vague on many others.
Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the men's singles final at the National Bank Open on Sunday.
A diving accident at 14-years-old left Brian Parker paralyzed from the chest down. Now at age 49, he's without the person who was caring for him full-time until just last week, after his 68-year-old mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Locally, LGBTQ+ people fear the messaging is coming across as targeting the queer community, similar to former HIV/AIDS messaging.
The German government on Friday issued a statement confirming the agreement will be signed Aug. 23 in Stephenville, where a Newfoundland based company plans to build a zero-emission plant that will use wind energy to produce hydrogen for export.
Winnipeg Police are investigating a pair of unrelated incidents that took place early Saturday morning.
Visitors to St. James will now be greeted by a new mural celebrating the neighbourhood's 100th anniversary that was unveiled Sunday.
A family that recently moved from Waterloo Region is remembering the life of their nine-year-old boy after the search for him came to a tragic end.
Multiple students have been displaced following a Sunday morning fire in Waterloo.
A string of pickup truck thefts using relay and reprogramming technology, a crash at a busy Kitchener roundabout, and a big golf shot for a big price round out the top stories of the week.
Watch this week’s special episode of Indigenous Circle, recapping Pope Francis’ journey to Canada and his historic apology.
The Prairie Sport Riders Association (PSRA) aims to provide a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere when it comes to the sport of motorcycle racing.
It’s rare to have a large scale aircraft touch down in Saskatchewan. Last month, a Boeing 787 brought 230 displaced Ukrainians from Warsaw to Regina. It took extensive planning to accommodate the plane.
9-year-old Everett Freeman went camping with his family on Huckleberry Island in Georgian Bay, and went missing around 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 12.
A 42-year-old Richmond Hill man drowned at Wasaga Beach Saturday evening, according to provincial police.
A 27-year-old has been arrested and is facing multiple charges following an incident at the Beaver Creek Correctional facility.
The Saskatoon Hilltops season opened Sunday with the team’s home-opener against the Winnipeg Rifles at Gordie Howe Park.
Parts of central Saskatchewan were battered by severe thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening of Aug 13.
Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and one through the air as the Riders snapped a three game losing skid Saturday night with a 34-23 win in Edmonton.
Police now confirm the incident on Aug. 11 on Spruce Street in Sudbury is considered a homicide.
It was a sea of people wearing green and white at the James Jerome Sports Complex Sunday morning as Sudburians gathered to mark Pakistan Independence Day. This is the 75th anniversary of the country's independence from British colonial rule.
The Flour Mill Community Farm’s 6th annual Open Farm is an opportunity for the community to tour the space, sample some of the farm’s produce and enjoy local musical entertainment live.