Police: Husband admits to shooting wife while kids were home

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police say an Ahwatukee man fatally shot his wife Tuesday night, fled the scene and then called 911 to turn himself in.

The couple's two young children were inside the house at the time.

Phoenix Police Lt. Darren Viner said the couple's 7-year-old son called 911 around 6:30 p.m. to say his parents were having a bad fight. While he was on the phone with the dispatcher, three shots were fired.

After the shots were fired, the boy's stepfather, Anthony Rinaldi, allegedly got in his car and fled the home, which is near 46th Street and Piedmont Road (north of Elliot Road). A few minutes later. he called the police to report that he had shot his wife.

Court papers show that while on the phone, Rinaldi said "he 'snapped' and his 'military training' kicked in." He also said his boys were home alone and that he was going to kill himself.

Viner said Rinaldi, 26, then made contact with a Department of Public Safety officer and turned himself in. He was taken into custody without incident. The DPS officer found a loaded handgun on the passenger seat of Rinaldi's car.

When officers arrived at the couple's home, they found Amanda Blaies-Rinaldi, 28, dead in the garage.

Officers made a "crisis entry" into the home -- they didn't wait for a warrant -- to get the 7-year-old boy and the couple's other child, a 1-year-old boy. Neither one was injured. The Rinaldi children are now staying with relatives.

It was not immediately known what led to the argument and subsequent shooting, but the 7-year-old told officers his mom and stepfather had been arguing about money. According to the probable-cause statement, Rinaldi was carrying a credit card issued to Amanda. "The card appeared to have been crushed," the statement reads.

This apparently is not the first time there has been trouble in the Rinaldi home. According to court paperwork, the victim's family says there is a long history of domestic violence.  They also said it's possibly that Rinaldi might be suffering from PTSD or other mental issues.

Neighbors told 3TV Rinaldi was in the military and had served in Iraq. He had been working as a corrections officer at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Perryville since Jan. 24. According to Bill Lamoreaux of the Department of Corrections, Rinaldi was dismissed Tuesday night in the wake of the shooting.

When police tried to talk to Rinaldi further about the shooting, he invoked his Miranda right to have a lawyer present.

Rinaldi was booked on a charge of second-degree murder. That charge was later changed to first-degree murder. A judge set his bond at $360,000 and scheduled a status conference for Dec. 21, followed by a preliminary hearing on Dec. 27.