CHICAGO (CBS)– Police said the woman found dead in a Merrillville hotel was strangled and that evidence at the scene led them to suspect Keenan McCain, who was killed in a standoff with police.
Two police officers were wounded in a shootout following a standoff late Monday in Gary, and homicide suspect was shot and killed. Now, police are providing new details on the incidents leading up to the standoff.
We’re at Merrillville PD right now. Below is more information on what led to a deadly shootout between Gary police and a 29-yr-old man yesterday. Police say he was a suspect in a domestic related murder on Sunday in Merrillville. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/hu2WZFw3Hr
— Mugo Odigwe (@MugoOdigwe) January 14, 2020
Merrillville police confirmed that officers were after the McCain in connection with the murder of a Betty J. Claudio, 44, whose body was found in the Merrillville Hampton Inn.
Merillville police addressed the media on Tuesday and said the suspected offender, McCain and victim, Claudio were dating. Police said they had been in an “intimate relationship for approximately a month.”
Police said Claudio checked into the Hampton Inn Hotel on Saturday night and by Sunday she was found dead.
Police believe there was an argument between her and McCain. Police said evidence at the scene suggested that McCain killed her in the hotel.
Investigators got a tip and early Monday afternoon, Gary police officers were assisting Merrillville police in trying to apprehend McCain in the 2500 block of Waverly Drive, at Taft Place, according to Gary police Lt. Dawn Westerfield.
Upon making contact with the suspect, he retreated into the house and started a standoff, Westerfield said.
A Gary police SWAT team was activated around 1:50 p.m. and tried to negotiate, Westerfield said. It did not work, and the SWAT team went inside the house around 4:20 p.m. when the suspect opened fire, she said.
Cpl. James Nielsen, a 17-year veteran, was shot once in the chest – which was protected by his bulletproof vest – and once in the left arm. Cpl. John Arbitey, a 14-year veteran, took shrapnel to his chin and abdomen.
Both officers’ conditions were stabilized, police said.
McCain was shot and killed, police said.
According to police, McCain has a criminal history that includes another case where he was also accused of strangling a woman.
“He had a protection order from a female that we’re not going to be identifying out of Marion County,” a Merillville police spokesperson said in a media conference. “He also had an active warrant through Marion County for strangulation, intimidation. It was intimidation with a firearm.”
Police said they are still looking for the victim, Claurio’s car. It’s a silver 2000 Buick Century with Indiana license plate 612-RDF.