Published: May 01, 2012 4:16 AM EDT
Updated: May 01, 2012 4:30 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Three armed robbery suspects forced victims to the ground and shot witnesses when they tried to stop the thieves Monday night.  It all started at Pin Street Bowling on Fowler Street in Fort Myers at about 6:30 p.m.

Men in masks stormed in and stole cash before taking off.  Witnesses followed the crooks to Palm Vista Apartments several blocks away.  As of Monday at 11:30 p.m., police are still looking for the suspects.

6:30 p.m. Monday, Fort Myers police officers responded to an armed robbery at Pin Street Bowling.  Police say three men, armed with guns and wearing masks, grabbed cash bags that were prizes for a bowling tournament.

"Honestly I thought a boom popped until everybody started saying get down, get down. The guy had a mask on and everything," said Jeff Evers, witness.

"It's ridiculous. It's obvious that somebody knew a lot of information. I was told they went straight to the counter where the money was. That's how much they knew," said Jim Boling, witness

Police say the men left in a silver car and fired a single shot as they ran out the door.  No one was hurt.

"I hit the ground but I was one of the last ones to get down," said Evers.

"I know my buddies hit the deck when he yelled," said Boling.

"I just saw one of the attendants run and he jumped over the counter and got on the phone and called 911," said Jack Gunn, witness.

Witnesses ran after the thieves and followed them to the Palm Vista Apartments and tried to block the men in. That's when the suspects fired shots at the witnesses but no one was hurt. The three masked men then dumped the car blocks away at Hunter Terrace and Fowler. Police were able to find key pieces of evidence like bullet casings and the getaway car but not their suspects.

"Anytime you have a robbery like this with weapons, you should be concerned and anyone with information should call us," said Shelly Flynn, Fort Myers Police Department.

More than 60 witnesses saw the robbery inside, each one interviewed by police.

"I said I left Miami to come to Fort Myers for this? Come on now," said Jay Winsett, witness.

"It's kind of crazy, it's kind of crazy, but I'll still be bowling," said Evers.

Fort Myers police say they always need help of witnesses but they urge people not to chase after armed suspects.