STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) — A Wintersville, Ohio man was arrested Tuesday after allegedly threatening a WTRF news crew outside the Jefferson County Justice Center.
Santino Chiovitti, 20, of 229 Beechwood Blvd., faces charges of inducing panic, and may face additional charges, according to Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies.
Santino Chiovitti allegedly approached the news crew while reaching into his jacket as if he was reaching for a firearm, according to deputies. He allegedly made threats that he would “blow people’s heads off,” according to law enforcement.
A witness told deputies Santino Chiovitti was “saying something toward a WTRF-TV news crew while reaching into his jacket (and) she thought he was grabbing a gun,” according to our news partner the Herald Star.
At the justice center, two other bystanders told deputies that Santino Chiovitti ran across Route 7 with his hand in his jacket as if he had a firearm. He then allegedly told the reporters, “You’re going to want to hear this,” then reportedly told the bystanders to leave.
Santino Chiovitti reportedly told officers the news station was “posting fake stories and slandering his family.”
WTRF journalists were at the justice center covering a press conference on rail safety given by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, according to our news partner.
Santino Chiovitti allegedly called WTRF in Wheeling, West Virginia earlier and reportedly threatened News Director Brenda Danehart and Web Manager John Lynch concerning a story the station posted online about his sister, Carmine Chiovetti, of McDonald, Pa., who was booked into the Jefferson County jail Monday on a burglary charge after police found her and another female at a residence on Scioto Drive.
Steubenville, Ohio police said they responded to Scioto Drive and observed a vehicle in the driveway that was registered to the resident that contained several open beers, hard iced tea, and a shovel. Police also say they found an ID that belonged to Carmina S Chiovitti. Officers also found a shotgun, ammunition and a pistol magazine.
Carmine Chiovetti will have preliminary hearing March 30 in Steubenville Municipal Court,
Ohio police find open beers, hard iced tea, pistol magazine, shotgun, shovel, and plastic object shaped like a penis in burglary
Santino Chiovitti allegedly told Danehart earlier that he demanded the station take down the story about his sister’s burglary arrest. Danehart suggested he contact Steubenville Police if there was an issue with the police report upon which the news story was based. He reportedly became belligerent and verbally abusive, allegedly telling Danehart, “I think I see a WTRF car down the road, why don’t I just blow their heads off?” Danehart told him this was a threat then he hung up.
He called back and spoke with Lynch and asked if he was speaking with the reporter he was looking at at the justice center.
Santino Chiovitti may be facing additional charges in Wheeling since he called WTRF and allegedly threatened employees there. This is in addition to the inducing panic charge and other possible charges in Steubenville.