Person Of Interest In NW Indiana Hotel Murder Fatally Shot During Standoff In Gary

Mike Krauser
January 14, 2020 - 8:01 am
 Crime Police Tape
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) --  Police have provided new information about a homicide at a Merrillville hotel on Sunday that led to a standoff with a suspect in Gary on Monday, police officers were wounded and a man wanted for questioning was fatally shot.

"My son passed away on my birthday," said the mother of Keenan McCain.

Keenan McCain, 29, was wanted for questioning in the murder of a woman identified as 44-year-old Betty J. Claudio, whose body was found in a hotel room in Merrillville on Sunday afternoon.

"The Lake County Coroner's Office were able to rule that as a homicide by strangulation," said Merrillville Detective Aaron Ridgway. "Evidence at the scene indicated a domestic relationship between the two. Investigators were able to receive credible information that McCain was located in the area of the Westbrook apartments in Gary, Indiana."

Keenan McCain
McCain Family

On Monday afternoon, Gary police were assisting Merrillville police in a search warrant of Keenan McCainat in the 2500 block of Waverly Drive, which is at the Westbrook Apartment complex. According to Gary police Lt. Dawn Westerfield, upon making contact with the McCain, he retreated into the house and started a standoff, prompting the Gary Police Dept. SWAT team to be called.

McCain barricaded inside for about three hours. He had been talking to a negotiator. 

“I talked to him, told him to come out, and he said he was coming out,” McCain’s brother told CBS 2. “I talked to the negotiator and he said he’d give him a chance to come out.”

“I just don’t know where it went wrong,” McCain’s mother said.

After nearly three hours, the SWAT team entered the apartment and police said McCain fired shots hitting two officers. 

Cpl. James Nielsen, a 17-year veteran, was shot once in his bulletproof vest and once in the left arm. Cpl. John Arbitey, a 14-year veteran, was hit with bullet fragments in the chin and abdomen. 

Both officers’ conditions were stabilized, police said.

One of the officers returned fire killing McCain.

McCain's mother spoke to CBS 2 following the standoff. 

“All I asked the police to do was let me go over there to where he was, so he could see me, and my baby would have came out of there," she said. 

‘“I need some answers. I lost my son today, and I’m hurt.”

Later Tuesday morning, police in Merrillville said they will provide more information on the case.