Investigators say the victim may have been targeted.
The shooting happened in the middle of the day in front of a customer and right across the street from Gary police.
Officials are investigating whether the killing may be connected to another murder.
A glowing candle sits at the entrance to the salon, a tribute to Antoinetta Johnson, whose picture graces the marquee.
"My heart goes out to the family and her co-workers," friend James Brown. "And another business is gone in Gary."
It was around 12:30 Thursday afternoon when police say a man entered the salon, walked right up to Johnson and fired multiple shots, killing her on the spot.
A female customer who was there was not harmed.
"According to the witness, there was nothing said," said Gary Police Department Lieutenant Del Stout. "No demands were made, and nothing was taken. I don't believe it was random. I believe she was the intended target."
The shooting took place right across the street from Gary's main police station.
Though a motive remains unclear, Johnson was no stranger to law enforcement.
She had recently been cooperating with portage investigators in another murder in which police say she served as a getaway driver for an alleged hit man.
Police say Johnson was never charged in exchange for her cooperation.
"That is an angle we're definitely going to look at as far as a possible motive why Ms. Johnson was killed," Lt. Stout said.
But if Johnson had made enemies, it seems many didn't know about it.
"She had steady clients, involved in the community," Brown said.
"She was well-liked among the other owners of the other businesses in that strip mall," Lt. Stout said.
Johnson was a mother of three. Her husband said he hopes that the shooter will be caught. The police have only a vague description to go on.