EC residents rattled to learn their neighbors tied by police to brazen bank robbery
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent April 5, 2014 8:28PM
Residents say Ashley Peterson and Jeremiah Ellis, arrested in connection with a bank robbery in East Chicago, lived in this building at the corner of 148th and Homerlee streets with their two children. The two were arrested in Missouri County, Mo., Friday morning and face additional charges of resisting arrest, assault on a law enforcement officer and child endangerment. | Michelle L. Quinn / Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 8, 2014 10:05AM
EAST CHICAGO — Ashley Patterson and Jeremiah Ellis were not well-known in their neighborhood, but residents were shocked to learn the two had been accused of shooting at police as they fled the scene of a bank robbery on Thursday.
Ellis, 28, and Patterson, 24, were arrested Friday morning after fleeing Missouri County, Mo., sheriff’s deputies trying to pull over the silver Mitsubishi Montero they were driving for a traffic violation. The SUV sped down Interstate 57, and someone inside the vehicle started firing gun shots at the officers. The two were arrested when they stopped the car.
Two children were in the car, according to a Missouri media outlet.
Neighbors outside on Homerlee Avenue on Saturday afternoon said they had never met the two, but they noticed the commotion their arrests caused. One woman, who declined to be identified, said she arrived home from school about 6 p.m. Thursday to see law enforcement “at least a dozen deep” on and around Homerlee Avenue and 148th Street.
The next day, neighbors who lived in the same building as Patterson and Ellis moved out. She assumed they were scared of what might happen next.
“Is it true the kids were in the car when they were arrested?” the woman said. “You never put your kids in danger.”
Another man, who is known in the neighborhood as “Chevy,” also saw the commotion Thursday as he and a friend were working on their vehicles.
“Yeah, the cops were driving around mean-mugging,” Chevy said. “I had to park way down when I got home because they were everywhere.”
On Thursday, authorities had broadcast several alerts, stating that the couple were traveling in a gray Misubishi sedan and that two children may be traveling with them.
Ellis and Patterson are accused of robbing First Merchant Bank, 4740 Indianapolis Blvd., and firing shots at pursuing police twice during the chase that followed. The two entered the bank about 11 a.m., and Ellis jumped the counter to the tellers cage while Patterson ordered customers and workers to the floor, authorities said.
East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker said more than 10 people were inside the bank at the time of the holdup.
After pursuing the suspects, Becker said police lost sight of the SUV as it entered Hammond near 149th Street and Walnut Avenue. They recovered shell casings from what appeared to be an automatic weapon at both shooting sites, he said.
No one was wounded in the shooting, Becker said, and officers did not return fire because the chase took place through residential areas.