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'I believe we let her down' - police say criminal justice system failed to protect woman shot by estranged husband

Scott Brant shot his wife Tuesday before turning the gun on himself
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Posted at 4:02 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 19:19:24-05

WELLINGTON, Ohio — The Wellington Police Department says the criminal justice system failed to protect a woman from her estranged husband.

“She was not protected,” Chief Tim Barfield said. “Thank God she survived, but barely.”

According to police, 49-year-old Scott Brant drove to his wife’s workplace Tuesday afternoon and shot her in front of multiple witnesses before turning the gun on himself.

“I believe we let her down. We have a duty to try to protect her,” Barfield said. “And yet the system failed. This was something that shouldn't have happened.”

Barfield said the woman sought help multiple times before the shooting near her place of employment at Boos Make and Take.

“She had come to the station to ask for some assistance in getting her husband to stop bothering her, harassing her,” Barfield said. “She relayed these instances of domestic violence and this kidnapping that had occurred, a rather dangerous, scary and violent kidnapping that he had perpetrated on her.”

Terry Jenkins works with the woman and witnessed the attack.

“It was definitely something that I would not wish to see or be a part of again, for sure,” Jenkins said. “It's pretty emotional and there's going to be a lot of healing that needs to take place.”

At the time of the shooting, Brant was under local and federal investigation for felony weapons and domestic violence charges after his estranged wife sought help from law enforcement and filled out a 27-question lethality assessment about stalking, harassment and violence within the home.

“With 27 points, 15 points showed that escalating violence,” Barfield said. “So that's that's a real concern for us.”

Court records show Brant was charged with two counts of domestic violence on October 27, but was released from the Lorain County Jail on bond.

“The court decided to let him go on a personal bond where he just signs in and gets to walk out,” Barfield said. “They did put an ankle monitor on him, but ankle monitors only do so much in this particular case.”

Barfield said Brant was not wearing his ankle monitor at the time of Tuesday’s shooting.

After Brant shot his wife in the hip and pelvis before taking his own life, police said they found large amounts of ammunition and another weapon in Brant’s vehicle.

“He came there with a lot of ammo,” Barfield said. “He could have done a lot more damage.”

The woman, whose name is not being released, was flown to Metro Hospital and is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries.

Barfield said had the ongoing case been handled properly, the woman would not be in the hospital to begin with.

“There were enough signs here to say that this man should have been in jail because he was a violent man,” Barfield said.

Legislation written to protect domestic violence victims in similar situations is still working its way through the state legislature.

House Bill 3, or Aisha’s Law, named for a Cleveland woman killed by her estranged husband, passed unanimously in the House earlier this year but still needs approval from the Senate.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7 essential tools and support to help survivors of domestic violence so they can live their lives free of abuse. Callers can access free, confidential, and compassionate support, crisis intervention information, education, and referral services in more than 200 languages. Call 800-799-SAFE (7233) if you or someone you know are in crisis.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1-800-273-8255 if you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or mental distress.