Police kill gunman north of Toronto

Police shot and killed a gunman during a hostage situation at a bank north of Toronto

A dramatic hostage situation at a bank north of Toronto ended abruptly on Wednesday when police killed a lone gunman.

No one else was injured but those inside the Royal Bank of Canada 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.”

Related: Abbotsford police officer killed in shootout

The bank is located 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.

Daycare owner Ellana Katzberg told CTV News that she sent an alert out to parents on her phone when police evacuated the plaza

Officers helped staff carry dozens of children between the ages of 10 months and four years old to the safety of a nearby transit bus.

“We were able to send out an emergency alert to parents right away,” Katzberg told CTV. “Everybody knew where we were and we were in touch with parents throughout the time.”

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.”

The plaza with the bank was cordoned off with police tape by Wednesday evening and many officers remained at the scene. At least a half dozen people who were in the bank at the time of the incident were taken to an ambulance bus nearby, many with white blankets wrapped around their shoulders.

In a statement, 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.

Related: Suspect in October standoff killed himself: Revelstoke RCMP

Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, is reviewing how officers handled the incident.

SIU spokesman Jason Gennaro told reporters on Wednesday evening that two police officers used their firearms during the interaction with the gunman.

He said he could not identify those involved, but said the 25-year-old gunman was pronounced dead on scene.

“The SIU’s investigation is going to be focused on the interaction between the police officers and the individual,” Gennaro said. “Of course as a part of that investigation, we’re going to look at to determine what happened in the lead-up to that event.”

Gennaro said the SIU, which investigates all deaths where police are involved, has brought in eight investigators and four forensic investigators.

with files from Colin Perkel in Toronto.

Peter Goffin , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Haida film Now Is The Time selected for Sundance

Recognition continues for tale of Old Massett totem pole raising

Future of Sandspit Inn hangs in the balance, Transport Canada not renewing lease

Transport Canada and Sandspit Community Society set to discuss options

UPDATED: Ferry cancellations and significant wind warning in effect for Haida Gwaii

Loose objects may be tossed by the wind says Environment Canada, BC Ferries cancels sailings

Adverse weather conditions lead to pair of ferry cancellations

Northern Expedition sailings from Prince Rupert and Skidegate affected

This week in photos | The spirit of giving comes to Haida Gwaii

Masset Lions Telethon, Queen Charlotte’s annual craft fair, Fields store coming along in Skidegate

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Most Read