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MERRILLVILLE, Ind.–A woman found strangled to death at a hotel room in Merrillville is what eventually led to a shootout with police Monday night in Gary. 

At a press conference Tuesday morning, officers with the Merrillville Police Department said Betty Claudio, 44, had been dead for 12 hours at the Hampton Inn when police found her Monday. They are also still looking for Claudio’s car. 

“It is a silver 2000 Buick Century. It’s got an Indiana registration that says 612RDF,” says Merrillve Police Detective Aaron Ridgeway.  

Ridgeway says Claudio had been in a domestic relationship with Keenan McCain, 29, for about a month. They believe it was McCain who strangled Claudio in the hotel room Sunday, so they began to look for him. 

“On January 13, investigators were able to receive credible information that McCain was located in the area of the Westbrook Apartments in Gary. While conducting surveillance, they were actually able to see McCain standing in the doorway of one of the apartments,” Ridgeway said. 

Ridgeway says officers tried several times to get McCain to exit the apartment, but he refused. 

“At one point, McCain indicated that he had a firearm in his waistband. They tried to get him to show them his hands, but he retreated back into the apartment out of view of the officers,” Ridgeway said. 

A standoff lasted for a couple of hours. Eventually officers went in to get McCain. They say he shot two officers, so they returned fire. McCain was killed. 

The wounded officers have been identified as Cpl. John Artibey, a 14-year department veteran, and Cpl. James Nielsen, a 17-year veteran. Nielsen was shot in the chest, with the round being absorbed by his bulletproof vest, and in his left arm.  Artibey was hit by shrapnel in his abdomen and chin. Both officers are in stable condition. 

At the time of his death, McCain had a pending criminal case against him out of Marion County. In that case, he had been charged on Sept. 24 with intimidation, strangulation, pointing a firearm at another person, all felonies, and domestic battery.

(PHOTO:  aijohn784/Thinkstock)