Ex-Waukegan cop who shot, killed 19-year-old Black man in 2020 faces murder charges

Video shows Dante Salinas drive up on the scene and within 5 seconds fire seven shots at the car Marcellis Stinnette was riding in.

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Marcellis Stinnette

Marcellis Stinnette

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The former Waukegan police officer who shot and killed 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette in 2020 has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter, authorities said Thursday.

Dante Salinas turned himself in Thursday morning and a judge set his bail at $350,000. Salinas was expected to post bond and be released pending trial, said Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli.

According to dashcam and bodycam videos of the deadly encounter, within a span of five seconds, Salinas fired seven shots at a car being driven by Stinnette’s 20-year-old girlfriend, Tafara Williams. Williams also was wounded, the videos show.

State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said Thursday his office has worked on the case since the Illinois State Police completed the bulk of its investigation into the shooting in February 2021. Rinehart said his office studied the evidence, including video footage, the car Williams was driving and the bullets fired by Salinas.

Video evidence released by Waukegan police shortly after the shooting showed Williams and Stinnette sitting in their car just before midnight on Oct. 20, 2020, when a different Waukegan police officer came up to them, identified Stinnette and told him he was under arrest.

Video shows Williams drove away from the first officer and headed south. While Williams tried to turn right onto Helmholz Avenue, her car left the roadway and came to a stop.

Salinas, who was pursuing the duo in his squad car, stopped near Williams’ car around the same time Williams put her car into reverse to get back on the road, the video shows.

Though Salinas did not have his body camera on, other video and audio recorders show within 5 seconds he opened his door, shouted “Get out of the car!” and fired seven shots at the car.

Read more at dailyherald.com.

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