The armed man who entered a bank in Vaughan, Ont., on Wednesday afternoon has been shot and killed, York Regional Police say.
Const. Andy Pattenden said police needed “lethal force” to gain control of the situation at an RBC bank branch located at the corner of Major Mackenzie Drive West and Dufferin Street.
Police responded to a call just after 1:09 p.m. about a man with a gun inside the bank.
Const. Andy Pattenden said a motive has yet to be determined. (Sebastien St-Francois/CBC)
“When our officers did get there, as quickly as they could, they did in fact find a man inside the bank with a gun,” said Pattenden, adding first responders were able to get many bank employees and patrons out.
“Unfortunately, they couldn’t get everybody out, so it did turn into a hostage situation for us, and our emergency response team brought in negotiators,” he said.
“Lethal force had to be used on the suspect in order to gain control.”
Police responded to a call just after 1:00 p.m. about a man with a gun inside the bank. (Makda Ghebreslassie/CBC)
Pattenden said “there were no physical injuries,” and did not have a number for how many hostages were taken.
He said a motive has yet to be determined.
Due to the use of force, Pattenden said Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, is now investigating.
“Two police officers discharged their firearms,” SIU spokesperson Jason Gennaro said at a news conference later on Wednesday. “The man was struck and pronounced dead at the scene.”
Gennaro said there was no indication the 25-year-old man had fired his weapon.
‘Get out immediately’
Mahen Arasaratnam, who operates the gas station near to the bank, said police told him to close down the station during the crisis.
“The police officer came to my front door and he says there’s an armed robbery and a bomb threat, so vacate all the customers away, don’t let anybody in, all the staff leave the place, close the business, get out immediately,” he told CBC Toronto.
Arasaratnam said he complied with the requests, and later saw six to seven hostages being escorted by police to a bus.
“They were so panicked, so upset,” he said.
Mahen Arasaratnam operates the gas station near to the bank and said police told him to close down the station during the crisis. (Sebastien St-Francois/CBC)
When asked about possible bomb threats by reporters, Pattenden said: “There’s still an ongoing investigation as to who this person is, how they got here and what exactly went on.”
In a statement to CBC Toronto, RBC said: “Our number one priority is ensuring the safety and well-being of our clients and employees and we are extremely relieved that they are all safe and accounted for.”
The intersection is closed and police are asking for drivers and pedestrians to avoid the area.
ROAD CLOSURE UPDATE – The roads around Major Mackenzie Drive West and Dufferin Street are still closed for the ongoing investigation. No estimates on re-opening at this time.