The province's Special Investigations Unit has identified the man shot and killed by Ottawa police following a robbery east of the city's downtown core as 27-year-old Michael Jeffrey.

Police say they believe Jeffrey held up a TD Canada Trust bank on Montreal Road, just east of St. Laurent Boulevard at about 7 p.m. Friday.

"He got to the teller and all he saw was the gun and he left," said Tannisia Bucknor, whose friend was in the bank at the time of the robbery.

Bucknor, who was working at a nearby Caribbean restaurant Friday night, told CTV Ottawa she saw the suspect as he fled on foot.

"He was about to go straight but we had seen him and he went around the back of the building," said Bucknor.

"I made a 911 call and told them description, height, weight everything and by the time I hung up with them the cruiser was here already."

The SIU, which is called in whenever police are involved in incidents with the public that result in death or serious injury, says police on patrol in the area caught up with the suspect near Rideau High School, where several shots rang out.

Residents take cover

Several residents on Claude Street near Clarke Avenue were home during the incident and said they took cover to ensure their safety.

"I peaked outside to look what was going on and saw two police officers with their firearms drawn," said area resident Nathalie Danis.

"We didn't hear the gun shots, we kept the kids in the basement," she said. "When I came back I saw a body on the sidewalk covered with a tarp."

The SIU investigation reveals Jeffrey was shot at least once. An autopsy concluded he died from a gunshot wound.

Police say armed robberies on the rise

The incident is the latest in a string of armed robberies across the capital, which Ottawa police say indicates robberies in the city are on the rise.

"Our increase around armed robberies in January-February is up about 50 per cent over January-February of last year," Ottawa police Chief Vern White told CTV Ottawa.

White says one of his greatest concerns is the ages of some of the suspects.

"(We) seem to be arresting people who are very young and I'm not sure they understand the impact of their actions," he said. "It's not a game and I'm afraid it's a game that you end up playing for keeps."

The Special Investigations Unit is continuing its investigation and asks anyone with information about the fatal shooting to call 1-800-787-8529, ext. 1898.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Natalie Pierosara