Police in Canada have identified the heavily armed culprits of a brazen bank robbery last week as twin brothers whose social media posts showed an obsession with guns and fear of government ‘tyranny’ , as well as an interest in the infamous bank robberies.
On Saturday, police identified Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie, 22, as the two men killed after attempting to rob a bank in the town of Saanich, British Columbia.
The brothers entered a branch of the Bank of Montreal on Tuesday morning dressed in black clothing and bulletproof vests.
Nearly 20 people were in the bank at the time. “The energy from them was completely calm,” Shelli Fryer, who was there for a meeting with the branch manager, told CTV News. “When they spoke, it was in calm voices.”
When the police arrived a chaotic shootout has begun as the brothers left the bank. The twins were killed in the shootout and six officers injured, three of whom were seriously wounded by gunshots.
“At first I thought it was fireworks, so I ran to the window and looked outside. And it was just a hail of bullets whizzing everywhere, and the cops locked everything down,” Christopher Lee Ford, who lives in the area, told the City of Victoria’s Capital Daily. He and his family took shelter in their dining room. “I saw two cops get shot .”
Police ordered businesses and residents to evacuate the area after several explosive devices were found, sealing off the area for several days.
“It’s something that shakes a community,” Saanich Police Chief Dean Duthie told reporters in the hours after the shooting.
But the brothers’ actions during the failed heist left victims searching for answers.
“I just don’t know what they wanted. What were they waiting for?” said Fryer. “They had all the money. They could have just taken the money and left right away. They would have been in and out before the police arrived.
Although they arrived at the bank heavily armed and with a cache of explosives, police said neither brother had a criminal record and was not previously known to police.
But Isaac Auchterlonie’s Instagram account, which has since been deleted, showed growing animosity toward the federal government and a fixation on guns. Scattered throughout the story are images of the young man firing guns into the forest and praise for previous famous bank robberies.
A post shared clips from a documentary about the North Hollywood shooting, a 1997 bank robbery in which two heavily armed men injured more than a dozen people in a clash with police.
Other posts referred to a conflict between the Irish Republican Army and British soldiers and police, as well as the Siege of Waco, when Federal officers and soldiers stormed a Branch Davidian religious compound. in Texas in 1993.
Auchterlonie has also expressed fierce opposition to the Covid-19 vaccination as well as recent gun control legislation proposed by the federal government.
“When they try to vaccinate and they also try to take guns,” the post read, followed by the hashtags #tryandtakeit and #getwhatyoudeserve and #fuckyoutrudeau, in reference to the prime minister.
He also used the hashtags #tyranny, #donttreadonme and “tyrantrepellent #tryandtakeit” when posting images of guns.
Nearly a week after the shooting, police have yet to release a timeline of events, including who shot first.
“There are still a lot of questions and investigative efforts to be carried out in order to fully understand what happened and why,” said Cpl Alex Bérubé during a press conference on Saturday.
“The motive for the armed robbery and the exchange of fire with the police has not yet been determined.”