EAST CHICAGO | A busy Saturday morning was interrupted at First Merchants Bank, 4740 Indianapolis Blvd., about 11 a.m. when two armed people entered to rob the bank.

One, a black male about 25 to 30 years old, jumped the teller's cage area as the second, a black female about 25 to 30 years old, ordered all the customers and employees to the floor. Both of the suspects were wearing scarves over their faces and were armed with handguns, said East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker.

Taking an undisclosed amount of cash the two left the bank on foot and were followed by a customer who was inside the bank during the robbery. The customer continued to follow the suspects and was able to point them out to responding East Chicago police.

Becker said the two ran, then walked about two blocks before entering what appeared to be a blue, dark blue or black larger SUV. As police began their pursuit, the suspect in the passenger seat exited the vehicle and began firing shots at police. The pursuit continued on 149th Avenue into Hammond. Around White Oak Avenue, the passenger again leaned out of the vehicle and began firing shots at police. Becker said the shots came from a semi-automatic weapon. There were no injuries.

Becker said police lost the suspects in the vicinity of 149th Avenue and Walnut in Hammond.

The FBI was called to the scene and the investigation is ongoing. Becker said several business in the area have surveillance cameras and investigators are in the process of gathering whatever surveillance tape is available. There was a guard at the bank, but Becker did not know if he was armed or unarmed.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the East Chicago Police Department at (219) 391-8446 or the FBI.

Joyce has been a staff writer for The Times for more than 20 years. She covers the city and school district in Portage and surrounding areas.