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The Lake County Sheriff's Department office is investigating a fatal shooting Wednesday morning involving a Gary police officer in the Aetna section of Gary.

A man sitting in a vehicle was killed in the incident. The Lake County coroner's office identified the victim as Thomas R. Watkins III, 38, who lived in the 4400 block of 13th Place, which is also in the Aetna area.

Gary police Cmdr. Jack Hamady said the shooting occurred about 5:58 a.m. Hamady said officers responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle parked in the driveway of an abandoned home.

Officers arrived at the 600 block of New Jersey Street in Gary, and saw a vehicle in the driveway. Officers approached the vehicle and a male subject inside the vehicle fired a weapon at the officers, police said.

A Gary police officer fired his weapon in response, fatally wounding the man who was inside the vehicle. Police said the name of the officer who fired his weapon has not yet been released.

The Gary Fire Department responded to the scene, along with other authorities, and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the coroner's office, Watkins was pronounced dead at 9:25 a.m. The coroner's office said the man died from a gunshot wound in a homicide.

Gary police said the case is under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and at this time the investigation into the case continues.

Check back at for updates as this story develops.

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Southlake County Reporter

Carmen is an award-winning journalist who has worked at The Times newspaper for 20 years. Before that she also had stints at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., The Post-Tribune and The News Dispatch in Michigan City.