East Chicago bank robbery suspects caught in Missouri

2014-04-04T23:14:00Z 2014-04-06T00:51:11Z East Chicago bank robbery suspects caught in MissouriMatt Mikus matt.mikus@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com
April 04, 2014 11:14 pm  • 

Police in Missouri have arrested a man and woman who are suspected of robbing an East Chicago bank at gunpoint last week, FBI officials said.

Jeremiah Ellis, 28, and Ashley Patterson, 24, both of East Chicago, were taken into custody Friday as suspects in the armed robbery of First Merchant at 2720 Indianapolis Blvd.

They are being held in Mississippi County Jail in Missouri, according to the FBI.

According to televsion station KFVS 12 in Cape Girardeau, Mo., a deputy with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department in Illinois tried to stop the suspects' vehicle, a Mitsubishi Montero SUV, for a traffic violation about 9:30 a.m. Friday on Interstate 57. The suspects drove off and someone inside the car shot at the officer, according to reports. More shots reportedly were fired from the SUV's sunroof as the pursuit continued on I-57 into Missouri.

The car finally was stopped near the Charleston, Mo., exit, and the pair was arrested with the assistance of the Charleston Department of Public Safety, the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Mississippi County, Mo., and Pulaski County Sheriff's Departments, according to KFVS 12's report. Two young children were found in the car and were taken into protective custody, authorities told the station.

The couple had been sought since the bank was robbed about 11 a.m. Saturday.

Police said in the incident, the two entered the bank, armed with semi-automatic guns. Ellis allegedly jumped the teller's cage to demand money as Patterson ordered the customers and workers down to the floor.

The suspects left the bank on foot, walked to a parked dark blue Chevrolet Tahoe two blocks away and drove off as police arrived on the scene.

During the chase, Ellis reportedly got out of the Tahoe and fired at the police. He got back into the car, and as officers pursued, he leaned out of the vehicle window to fire at police, authorities said.

The chase continued on 149th Avenue into Hammond, where police lost sight of the vehicle.

East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker said the brazen act of getting out of the car to shoot at officers made this a unique case. 

"There was nothing blocking their path to leave, yet they still got out and shot at officers," Becker said.

One witness, who followed the two out of the bank to their vehicle, was key to identifying the suspects.

"We always encourage people to help us help them, but to do it at a safe distance," he said. "We're not asking people to go above and beyond, but this person did."

Multiple police departments cooperated to help track down the two suspects, Becker said, including the FBI, the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the regional STOP Team.

"These guys really didn't have a chance when you've got all these departments working together," Becker said.

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