MICHIGAN CITY – Three firearms were seized and two teenagers arrested in separate incidents on Halloween, one involving a lengthy police foot chase and the other following reports of gunshots downtown.
The La Porte County Drug Task Force announced the arrests Friday, following joint operations involving the Task Force, Michigan City Police Department and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm and Explosives.
On Thursday morning, members of the Drug Task force, who were following up a previous investigation in which numerous firearms were stolen, found a potential suspect in the Westside neighborhood of Michigan City, a statement from Task Force commander Lt. Tim Richardson said.
Task Force investigators and patrol officers from MCPD Shift 1 engaged in a "several-hours-long cat and mouse” game with a 17-year-old male juvenile, according to Richardson.
"This 17-year-old boy was reportedly armed and attempted to evade capture, fleeing from homes and leading investigators in the morning-long chase and search," he said.
At about 1:15 p.m., Task Force Investigators finally captured the teen in the 1100 block of W. 9th Street on the west side. Two illegally possessed firearms were confiscated and the suspect was charged with dangerous possession of a firearm and resisting law enforcement, according to police.
Two Task Force detectives suffered minor injuries during the morning-long chase, with one requiring medical attention, Richardson said.
That same evening, just after 7 p.m., MCPD patrol officers and supervisors working Patrol Shift 2 and special “Trick or Treat” patrols responded to a report of shots fired near the intersection of 8th Street and Michigan Boulevard.
The investigation led the officers to a home in the 900 block of E. Michigan Boulevard, where another "illegally possessed" handgun was recovered, according to police. The investigation is ongoing, and a 16-year-old boy has been arrested.
Richardson lauded the efforts of the officers and detectives involved in the chase of the armed juvenile.
"The intense, several-hours-long chase ultimately led to two dangerous firearms being removed from the streets prior to the planned evening events for Halloween," he said. "The detectives and officers refused to give up until this young man was safely taken into custody."
He also gave credit to the public for assistance in aiding police in bringing the case to a resolution Thursday, saying, "Public involvement was a major contributor in the success of this case."
Chief of Police Dion Campbell and Traffic Commander Lt. Jeff Loniewski had put several extra officers on patrol during “Trick or Treat” time Thursday evening.
The additional officers were a major contributor in the seizure of the third illegally possessed firearm, Campbell said.
“Eradicating these illegally possessed firearms from the streets of Michigan City and La Porte County is a significant priority for area law enforcement," Campbell said. "Getting a total of three illegally possessed firearms off our streets in one day, and getting them out of the hands of our youth, makes our community safer for all of those involved.”
Campbell said it's just the start of future initiatives to combat gun violence, adding, "It takes police partnering with the community to have the successful outcomes that we experienced Thursday."
The Drug Task Force asks anyone with information about criminal activity, including gun violence, to contact them at 219-873-1488 or via social media.