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Charges allege man held woman against her will, pistol-whipped her
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Charges allege man held woman against her will, pistol-whipped her


CROWN POINT — Charges filed last week allege a Hammond man held his girlfriend against her will last month, pistol-whipped her and allowed her to leave only after his gun went off and fired a round into the ceiling.

Steven Fortunato, 39, is accused of refusing to allow the woman to leave his apartment in the Robertsdale neighborhood the night of Jan. 27 after he became angry, argued with her, punched her and threw her to the ground.

The woman told police Fortunato pointed a Glock 19 pistol at her and told her he would kill her and her family if she reported the alleged abuse, Lake Criminal Court records say.

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Fortunato allegedly took the woman's phone so she couldn't call for help. The woman told police she was able to get the phone back early Jan. 28, but Fortunato promised to let her leave if she gave it back to him, records allege.

When she gave him the phone, he struck her in the face and head with the handle of the gun, records allege. During the attack, the gun fired a round into the ceiling near a doorway, the woman told police.

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A short time later, Fortunato allegedly gave her the phone and allowed her to leave, but he told her not to report the alleged abuse, records state.

When the woman went to police Jan. 29, she had severe bruising and cuts on her face, records state.

She told police she wasn't sure if Fortunato's gun went off by accident or if he meant to pull the trigger. Afterward, he "freaked out" and said he had to get out of the apartment, records allege. 

EDITORIAL: Women face violence, death, as justice system fails them

Fortunato was being held Monday on a $150,000 bail on four counts of criminal confinement, criminal recklessness, domestic battery by means of a deadly weapon, intimidation, domestic battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, pointing a firearm and misdemeanor interference with reporting of a crime.

A magistrate entered not guilty pleas on his behalf during an initial hearing last week. His formal appearance is set for Wednesday.

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