LAKE STATION | Two men escaped an intense police search after breaking into a house Friday and robbing residents at gunpoint, authorities said.
The men forced entry into a house in the 40th block of East 36th Avenue shortly before 1:30 p.m., Lt. John McDaniel said.
One of the men was armed with a handgun and the other was armed with a long gun, police said.
The men approached the three victims, one of whom was sitting in a recliner and two others who were sleeping on a couch.
The men struck the victims on the head with their fists and guns and demanded money, prescription pills and guns, police said.
While in the house, the men ransacked the home taking cash, pills and a loaded shotgun, police said.
The victims suffered minor injuries, cuts and bruises to their head and body during the robbery. All three — two men and a woman — were checked out by ambulance personnel and refused medical treatment.
The two men fled from the house on foot into adjacent woods, police said.
Several police agencies, including the Lake County Sheriff's Department, Hobart and New Chicago, assisted Lake Station in a search of the woods near the house.
The two men were not found despite a sweep of the woods by the Lake County Sheriff's Department helicopter and Lake Station police dogs, McDaniel said.
The River Forest Senior/Junior High School and the Evans Elementary School were placed on lockdown immediately after the incident, McDaniel said.
The woods where the men escaped is southwest of the school, Principal Shayne Snider said.
Snider said junior and senior high school students were on lockdown from 1:32 to 3:10 p.m., and elementary school students were on lockdown from 1:32 to 2:30 p.m.
The junior/senior high school remained on lockdown longer because student release time is later, Snider said.
Snider said school officials cooperated immediately with police after receiving a phone call about the incident.
Teachers and school officials closed window blinds and locked doors, Snider said.
The school has had several practice lockdowns this year.
"This was the real deal, so thank God we had practiced," Snider said.
Precautions also were taken when the lockdown ended with police on hand to escort students to waiting buses or car rides home, Snider said.
"We had great police presence," Snider said.
All after-school events also were canceled Friday as a precaution, Snider said.
The two suspects are described as black men between the ages of 17 to 22. One suspect was reported to have short hair, a thin build and was between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall. The second suspect was reported to be between 5 feet 9 inches and 5 feet 11 inches tall with a thin build. Both were wearing dark clothing.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Brian Williams at (219) 962-1186, ext. 353, or email Bwilliams@lakestation-in.gov.