Man charged with killing girlfriend’s brother, mother in NW Indiana shooting

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Robert Stewart | Lake County, Indiana Sheriff’s Office

A man has been charged after he allegedly opened fire inside a northwest Indiana home last week and killed his girlfriend’s brother and mother.

Robert Stewart, 35, is facing two counts of murder, according to the prosecutor’s office in Lake County, Indiana. He was ordered held at the county’s jail after being denied bond.

Officers responded about 9:20 p.m. Dec. 26 to a report of two people shot in a home in the 2400 block of West 61st Place in Merrillville, according to Merrillville Police Chief Joseph Petruch.

Stewart had been drinking and got into an argument with his girlfriend after he pushed their son in the basement room of the home they had been living in with her family, according to a police affidavit.

During the argument, his girlfriend’s mother and brother, identified as 55-year-old Candy Marie Halbe and 27-year-old Ryan Halbe, also came to the basement and argued with Stewart, police and the Lake County Coroner’s Office said. Stewart pulled out a gun and fired three times, striking Candy Halbe in the abdomen and Ryan Halbe in the chest, and ran from the house.

Ryan Halbe was taken to Methodist Southlake Hospital in Merrillville, where he was pronounced dead at 9:58 p.m., authorities said.Candy Halbe was takento Methodist Hospital Northlake in Gary, where she underwent surgery, but died early the following morning.

Both deaths were ruled homicides.

A police K-9 unit tracked Stewart to a shed about four blocks away and he was taken into custody, police said. A .45-caliber handgun was found nearby.

During an interview with detectives, Stewart said that instead of going to the laundromat earlier in the day with his girlfriend, he went to several liquor stores and bought alcohol, police said. Stewart told detectives he drank during the day to the point of blacking out and did not recall the shooting.

Stewart was next scheduled to appear in court Jan. 9.

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