What began as an armed robbery at a New Haven gun shop ended in a trail of debris, crumpled steel and injuries at a crowded intersection on Fort Wayne's southeast side Tuesday morning.
Now, three people believed to be linked to the robbery are in custody while officers search for a fourth person who ran off when a police chase culminated in a car crash.
According to police, the episode began when two people armed with handguns walked into Shooters Guns at 660 Lincoln Highway West in New Haven about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday.
The pair stole several handguns, according to police, but not before battering the store's owner and a customer. During the holdup, a gun carried by one of the robbers discharged, but it is unclear whether the bullet hit anyone inside.
The customer who was injured had a cut on the head that could have come from being grazed by a bullet or from being pistol-whipped, police said.
That customer was taken to a hospital and was listed in fair condition.
After the holdup, the two robbers got into a dark blue Impala with two others and drove west on Indiana 930 toward Fort Wayne, police said.
An Allen County sheriff's officer spotted the car near the Indiana Tech campus, officials said. The officer turned on his emergency lights and sirens, but the Impala refused to stop.
A chase toward Fort Wayne's southeast side ensued, with other sheriff's officers and units from the Fort Wayne Police Department joining in.
The chase ended at South Anthony Boulevard and McKinnie Avenue after the Impala collided with a pickup truck, leaving a smattering of car and truck parts strewn throughout the intersection.
The Impala stopped in the parking lot of Ya Boy Chicken & Fish, 4304 S. Anthony Blvd., bringing patrons from there as well as a gas station next door and other nearby businesses out into the streets. Other residents watched from their porches, having seen the chase speed by their homes.
Still others came from their nearby homes and gathered to watch as police cars arrived in the area.
The Impala's front end was badly damaged and one or two of the people were reportedly pinned inside.
Firefighters and rescue workers helped one of those people out of the car, cut away his clothes and sneakers and provided medical care while he lay on the ground until an ambulance arrived. That person was taken to a hospital in serious condition.
The driver of the pickup truck involved in the crash, described by police as an innocent bystander, was also taken to a hospital in serious condition.
An unmarked police car at the scene was also damaged and appeared to be involved in the collision, but no officers were injured.
The two others inside the Impala when it crashed fled on foot before officers made their way to the car. One was apprehended quickly while the other remained at large.
Officers did find a handgun tossed into a yard on Alliger Street, but police would not say whether the guns stolen from the store were recovered.
An agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives arrived at the crash scene to investigate.
The chase caused the lockdown of seven city schools in the area. Fort Wayne Community Schools lifted the lockdown a few hours later.
While police have three suspects believed involved in the gun shop robbery in custody, they had not been charged with a crime as of Tuesday evening.
Charges are likely pending. A police spokesman said the identities of the suspects are forthcoming.