News / Toronto

Gunman killed by police during hostage situation in bank north of Toronto

The man entered the bank in Maple, Ont. and police were called at 1 p.m.

Police vehicles block the entrance into the plaza where the bank is located. The suspect in an armed robbery at an RBC branch on Major Mackenzie Drive, was shot and killed by York Regional Police.

Torstar News Service Order this photo

Police vehicles block the entrance into the plaza where the bank is located. The suspect in an armed robbery at an RBC branch on Major Mackenzie Drive, was shot and killed by York Regional Police.

MAPLE, Ont. — A dramatic hostage situation at a bank north of Toronto ended abruptly on Wednesday when police killed a gunman.

No one else was injured but those inside the Royal Bank branch in Maple, Ont., were “definitely traumatized,” said York region police Const. Andy Pattenden.

“We did have to use lethal force in order to gain control of that subject,” Pattenden said.

Police raced to the scene after a call at about 1 p.m. and arrived at the branch to find a gunman as well as a number of other people inside, both staff and clients.

“Officers arriving on the scene were able to get some of those inside out to safety,” Pattenden said. “It did turn into a hostage situation for us.”

The bank is situated in a plaza along with a child-care centre, dentist office, drug store and other outlets. Police said many people were in the plaza at the time, and some reported being told to take cover as the drama unfolded. A negotiating team was brought in, to no avail.

Investigators were still in the process of clearing the bank and checking a vehicle to try to find out more about the man and his motivation.

Pattenden said he had no details on how many people were caught up in the bank or whether the man made any specific demands.

“I can't even tell you it was a robbery,” Pattenden said. “(But) being in the bank with a gun was very threatening.”

No serious injuries were immediately reported. Paramedics were treating some people at the scene for minor injuries, mostly chest pains related to anxiety.

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“There are definitely traumatized. This is a very traumatic event and we’re going to be doing everything we can to help those people,” said Pattenden. Victim services were brought in to help the victims.

In a statement, the RBC said it was “extremely relieved” customers and employees were safe.

“Out of respect for our clients and employees who were involved in this incident, and the ongoing investigation, we will not be commenting further,” the bank said.

The Special Investigations Unit, which investigates all deaths involving police, were called in. Police are asking residents to avoid the area, and local roads around the bank are closed for police investigation.  

With files from Torstar News Service

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