Police arrest 3 suspects in bank robbery

May 19, 2009 (CHICAGO) All three of the suspects were arrested in a wooded area near 130th Street and Ellis. One of those suspects was wounded in his arm during the shooting with police, according to sources, but the extent of those injuries is not known. The third suspect was recovered by canine units from the swamp area. His clothes were soaked from a apparently trying to swim his way to freedom.

Police were called to a Citibank, located in the 1700-block of River Oaks Drive, around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

"Everybody was really scared," said Amir El-Sharif who entered the bank a few minutes before the gunmen. "With his gun...and told everybody in the bank raise your hand."

The suspects got away with some cash but someone inside the bank called 911 while the robbery was still in progress before even the alarm was set off, giving police a head start. Officers quickly took up pursuit.

The three suspects fled in a vehicle, which they crashed and abandoned on the Bishop Ford Expressway following a police chase. Gunfire was exchanged- with an officer receiving a minor injury. The men fled on foot and exchanged gunfire with police. One shot hit a Calumet City officer in the leg. Another shot injured one of the suspects.

Officials located one of those individuals in a nearby wooded area around 3:45 p.m.

The Bishop Ford was closed from about 130th to 135th streets while officials searched for the suspects. It was reopened on Tuesday evening.

As a precaution, a school located at 133rd and Doty was placed on lockdown.

Chicago and Illinois State police and FBI officers helped Calumet City officials with the case. One officer who was shot in the leg is in good condition.

Police have not identified the suspects who are due in court on Wednesday.

Police say they recovered cash and a gun in the suspects' car.

Police release details during briefing

At a briefing, police said the suspects robbed the Citibank branch at the River Oaks Mall at gunpoint around 2:15 p.m.

The police were able to stake out possible escape routes and officials caught up with the Cadillac matching a description given from bank employees.

The suspects tried to escape after their car blew a tire on the Bishop Ford Expressway. One of the suspects opened fire at police, striking one of them in the leg. That officer, according to authorities, is expected to be OK.

Police were able to get one of the suspects at the scene. They captured another near a forest preserve an hour later. Police took a person believed to be the third suspect into custody and transported him to the police station on Tuesday evening.

Calumet's police chief thanked drivers for their patience while being stuck on the Bishop Ford. He is also relieved the shootout was not any worse.

"That shows you the mind set of these criminals and they were armed and dangerous and set to do whatever they needed to do to get away. I don't know who opened fire first. I'm presuming they opened fire first and we returned fire, but I can't tell you that definitively," said Edward Gilmore, Calumet City police chief.

Students from Carver Military Academy were allowed to go home on Tuesday evening. They were on lockdown because of the school's close proximity to the shooting.

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