Northwest Indiana home invasion, chase suspects in custody

August 9, 2012 (HOBART, Ind.)

A fourth suspect took his own life.

Porter County Sheriff's police say it all started when the men forced their way into a woman's home in unincorporated Valparaiso. Three men came to the door while one man stayed in the car.

The men asked the 52-year-old resident directions to a local high school. When she would not let them in, police say, the men beat her as they displayed a handgun.

All four suspects took off with cash and guns that they stole from the home, but a Hammond firefighter, the victim's neighbor, saw the crime and chased the suspect. The suspects shot and wounded the firefighter in the hand.

Three of the suspects were eventually captured by police in Hobart. A fourth suspect who ran the other way ended up shooting and killing himself when cornered by authorities.

Police squads from several departments joined the pursuit, which ended in Hobart at Route 30 and Colorado when the suspects crashed their silver four-door sedan with Illinois plates.

FBI agents who just happened to be at a nearby gas station helped chase down the suspects, including the one who turned his gun on himself.

A witness heard the gunshots and took cellphone video.

"I did not want to exit my vehicle until I knew exactly what was going on," said witness Steve Stanek. "I had no idea what happened until I got further information this morning. Me being the first person on scene, and then watching the police arrive, it was a scary feeling, more so for my wife then me. She was afraid because the individual was about 25 yards from our car. She said, 'What if that guy had approached us and tried to carjack us?' "

Coincidently, Stanek is also a Hammond firefighter who is friends with the firefighter who tried to chase down the suspects. Stanek says his friend is a good guy, a brave man, who would do anything for his neighbors, even when he is off-duty.

The female homeowner was taken to a hospital, where she was treated and released.

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