Hammond officer wounded at bank expected to make full recovery

2012-12-26T18:30:00Z 2012-12-27T12:05:37Z Hammond officer wounded at bank expected to make full recoveryChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | The Hammond police officer who was shot during a bank robbery Friday is expected to make a full recovery, Police Chief Brian Miller said.

Miller said the officer was released from the hospital Sunday after being treated for three gunshot wounds in the leg. Miller said when he visited the hospital, the officer requested the department not release his name.

The 34-year-old officer was shot Friday morning outside BMO Harris Bank, 7250 Indianapolis Blvd., as he responded to a bank robbery.

“It's a very difficult event for any police department,” Miller said. “I think the officers are handling it extremely well. Part of it is because justice has been provided.”

Two Gary men are being held at the Porter County Jail on federal charges of armed robbery of the bank. The men, David Lee Hardin and Brealon Miller Jr., both 24, are scheduled to have detention and preliminary hearings Thursday in U.S. District Court in Hammond.

According to federal court records, one of the men entered the front door of the bank and brandished a handgun. He ordered the bank's security guard to lie on the floor and then took the guard's handgun from its holster, while the second man entered the bank.

About $202,148 was taken during the bank robbery, according to an affidavit by a FBI agent filed in Hammond federal court Friday.

One of the men threatened to shoot people inside the bank and "had the second male count down from five on more than one occasion, implying that at the end of the countdown someone was going to get shot," according to court records.

Witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots as the men left the bank.

The wounded officer has served 13 months with the Hammond Police Department.

The security guard's handgun, which was believed to be used to wound the police officer, was found in East Chicago after it was thrown out of the car during an ensuing police chase, Miller said.

Miller immediately went to the bank after receiving the call that one of his officers was injured, he said. He then went to Gary and East Chicago to make sure those scenes were being correctly processed.

“It's just devastating, absolutely devastating,” Miller said. “It's the call you never want to receive, that you can never prepare for.”

Police arrested the men in Gary after they fled in a Cadillac, records state. One of the men got out of the car near Seventh Avenue and Matthews Street and began running from officers. Officers stopped the second man near 23rd and Clark Road by Oak Knoll Apartments.

Police found bundled money on one of the men and saw wallets in the Cadillac believed to be taken from bank employees during the robbery, according to court records.

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