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'I probably would have died': Former girlfriend of man killed in shootout details alleged abuse

'I probably would have died': Former girlfriend of man killed in shootout details alleged abuse

From the ICYMI: Here are the most-read stories from the past week series

A woman said a no-contact order against a 29-year-old Merrillville man who died in a police shootout earlier this week after allegedly strangling his girlfriend “wasn’t enough to keep another woman alive.”

Brittany Luster, former girlfriend of Keenan McCain, said in an interview with TV station CBS 4 Indy that after McCain’s death on Monday, “she no longer fears the man who she says severely abused her,” the Indianapolis news station reported.

McCain’s life ended in a shootout Monday that left two Gary officer’s injured as a SWAT team tried to execute a warrant at his Gary residence. McCain was wanted in connection to the murder of Betty Jean Claudio, who was found Sunday strangled to death at the Hampton Inn, 8353 Georgia St. in Merrillville, police said.

McCain faced similar charges of violence against Luster in Indianapolis, according to court records obtained by The Times. In September 2019, a no-contact order against McCain was granted to Luster.

Luster said she feels bad about Claudio’s death, saying her case of domestic abuse “meant more than me. It was about other women,” CBS 4 Indy reported.

"You should get protected more than just a detective calling and saying, 'has he contacted you.’ That wasn't enough to keep another woman alive," Luster said in her interview.

McCain was accused of choking Luster Aug. 31, stopping only after she kicked over a lamp, according to charging documents.

During the August incident, McCain picked up a handgun, pointed it at her and told her he would "blow her head off," police said.

Luster told the Indianapolis news station, "I got attacked because I wanted to leave. It was like, 'you're not going to stay, so you're going to die.’”

McCain stopped attacking when the woman's father knocked on the door, police said. However, before the two left the property, McCain ran after them. As Luster and her father got into a vehicle, McCain attempted to pull their keys out of the ignition while also appearing to pull his handgun out of his waistband before the two were able to drive away, court records alleged.

"Honestly if it wasn't for my father knocking on that door, I probably would have died that day," Luster told CBS 4 Indy. "My father could have got hurt or died that day."

McCain faced two felony counts of intimidation, felony strangulation and pointing a firearm, and a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery.

Court documents said that Luster told police how McCain had punched her unconscious, which resulted in a crash and her breaking an arm weeks before the alleged strangling. A short time before that, McCain put a handgun in her mouth and threatened to kill her, police said.

"I went through a lot of abuse," Luster said. "I ended up with a broken arm, I went through that. Just to get out of the relationship I had to call my father which helped me get away from him which kind of put him in a situation and we were blessed to not die."

McCain also had a 2018 case including charges of narcotics possession, carrying a handgun and knowingly operating a vehicle without a license.

Several counts of domestic battery charges were dismissed against McCain in July 2017 out of Marion County, as well. One of those charges included domestic battery committed in the presence of a child younger than 16.

Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail


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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts and investigative news. She is a graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology. 219-933-4194,

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