WAKEGAN, Illinois – A former police officer in a Chicago suburb has been charged with shooting a car two years ago, killing a black man and seriously injuring the man’s girlfriend, with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Thursday.
In a press release, the Lake County District Attorney’s Office said it disclosed grand jury indictments against former Waukegan police officer Dante Salinas on October 20, 2020, in which the shooting killed a 19-year-old local man, Marcelles Stinnett, and injuring his girlfriend. Tavara Williams. Salinas has also been charged with a felony of aggravated battery causing significant bodily harm and official misconduct.
On the night of the shooting, another Waukegan officer stopped the couple’s car and was interrogating them when Williams suddenly left the car, according to investigators. The officer chased after them and Salinas responded to the call for help and joined the chase.
The Lake County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Thursday that Williams veered off a road and crashed, then flipped her car backwards in an attempt to leave the area.
Salinas had gotten out of his squad car and wasn’t in the way of Williams’ car but “fired several shots at the driver’s side of the car as he continued to back out in front of him,” according to the press release.
Williams was wounded and killed by Stenett, who prosecutors said did not commit a crime.
In the statement, Lake County state attorney Eric Reinhart said an expert analyzing bullet trajectory was able to determine the location and trajectory of Salinas’ bullets.
Prosecutors said Salinas turned himself in to authorities on Thursday and a judge ordered that he be held on $350,000 bail. Second degree murder is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and manslaughter with a sentence of up to five years. If Salinas is convicted on both counts, the sentences will be executed concurrently.
Douglas Zett, the attorney who represented Salinas in court Thursday, declined to comment when contacted by phone.
Williams was charged with aggravated desertion. She also surrendered to the authorities and the judge ordered that she be released on $50,000 bail.