Man says he shot wife in defense

No charges have been filed in the ongoing investigation.



WELLSVILLE — A man told authorities he shot his wife between the eyes after she tried to shoot him.

According to information in search warrants filed Tuesday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court, Jack Amato Jr., 35, made the statement to a Wellsville police officer. This occurred July 1 after Amato Jr. was placed inside a police car outside his home at 1200 Commerce St.

No charges have been filed in the ongoing investigation.

Amato Jr. said Tonia Brundage Amato, 25, “was being a b---- for the last two days, perhaps suffering [sic] from PMS, that they were fighting, and that he did not know what was wrong with her,” said Wellsville Detective Jeff Weekley in court documents.

The police were called about 1:40 p.m. that day by Dr. Jack Amato, Amato Jr.’s father and a member of the Columbiana County Board of Health.

Amato Jr. said his wife tried to shoot him with his .22-caliber pistol and he “returned fire.”

That gun was sent to the Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation for testing, according to county Prosecutor Robert Herron.

The shooting occurred in a living room area. Authorities have also seized a .45-caliber pistol they believe was used in the shooting.

Single, fatal head wound

Tonia Amato died from a single gunshot wound to the head and “sustained both entrance and exit wounds from the gunshot,” according to court records. The information was provided to local authorities by the Cuyahoga County coroner’s office, which does autopsies for the county. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Court records said that after the shooting, Amato Jr. apparently had blood on his hands and a blood smear on his vest. He told Weekley that he had tried to pick up his wife after the shooting.

A special prosecutor has been named to investigate the death because of conflicts of interest. Atty. Lynn A. Grimshaw of Wheelersburg, Ohio, who has worked as a special prosecutor, was named to head the investigation.

Herron stepped aside because he represents the health board. Wellsville Police Chief Joe Scarabino also stepped aside because he is a friend of Dr. Amato.

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