CHICAGO — A Chicago police officer charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of her husband, also an officer, had threatened to kill herself before the shooting, prosecutors said Friday.
Jacqueline Villaseñor, 39, is charged with accidentally shooting her husband, German Villaseñor, 44, about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday inside the couple’s home near O’Hare in the 8500 block of West Winona Street during a struggle, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said during a bond hearing Friday.
Murphy said the two were arguing about the wife’s recent affair and were alone in their bedroom at the time of the shooting.
“Over the course of the argument, the defendant indicated she was going to shoot herself,” Murphy said.
Jacqueline Villaseñor took her gun from her holster, and the two were struggling over the gun when it went off, Murphy said.
Officer German Villaseñor was shot in the left side of chest, with the bullet piercing his heart before going out his back, prosecutors said. Gunpowder residue was found on the wife’s hands and on one of the husband’s hands.
“Her husband tried to save her life by reaching for that gun, and he was killed as a result,” Murphy said.
Prosecutors said Jacqueline Villaseñor was trying to perform CPR on her husband when their 16-year-old son came into the bedroom.
“He heard his parents arguing in the bedroom and heard loud banging noises. … He heard arguing and a single gunshot,” Murphy said. “He went upstairs and observed the victim laying face up on the floor bleeding while the defendant performed CPR.”
Jacqueline Villaseñor told the teen to get her medical bag from her car, which he did, and he called 911. He waited outside until paramedics arrived, prosecutors said. Jacqueline Villaseñor also called the police.
Prosecutors said an off-duty police officer arrived on the scene after hearing the call on the radio. He asked if Jacqueline Villaseñor was OK, to which she replied, “No, but yes,” as she leaned against a dresser.
Jacqueline Villaseñor smelled of alcohol, and she denied a department-mandated breathalyzer test, Murphy said.
Because she expressed suicidal thoughts, paramedics arrived to take her to the hospital, but she refused treatment, Murphy said.
Officers found three guns in the bedroom and a round of ammunition on the floor. The fired bullet was found in a wall. The medical examiner’s assessment of the shooting said German Villaseñor was shot at a downward angle and at close range, prosecutors said.
Tim Grace, the attorney representing Jacqueline Villaseñor, called the incident a tragic accident but said an involuntary manslaughter charge is too harsh.
Jacqueline Villaseñor loved her husband and their two children, Grace said. The couple was married for 20 years.
Villaseñor “is not a risk,” Grace said. “She has already begun the discussion with the police chaplain. She has no prior mental health issues I am aware of. A lot of counseling will be needed” for the family, he said.
If Jacqueline Villaseñor is convicted, she faces a minimum sentence of three years probation and up to 14 years in prison. Judge Susana Ortiz, who called Villaseñor a danger to herself and others, set bail at $100,000, but then lowered it to $50,000 after Grace said his client had enough money to post $5,000.
Ortiz ordered Villaseñor not to drink alcohol, use drugs or possess any guns during the investigation. Grace said all guns and ammunition were removed from the couple’s home and given to police.
Villaseñor was placed on administrative duties within the Police Department for 30 days. She is due back in court Nov. 23.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability and detectives are investigating, police said.
Meanwhile, family and friends are mourning German Villaseñor’s death. A GoFundMe was created Thursday for funeral expenses and to raise money for the couple’s two children. Organizer and family friend Carolina Diaz started the fundraiser, which has raised more than $7,000 of its $35,000 goal.
“Julisa and Alex’s lives are forever changed and the uncertainty of finances are too much to bear in addition to this tragedy,” Diaz wrote online, referring to the couple’s children. “They no longer have parental income, and their future is uncertain for the hard times to come.”
Diaz called German Villaseñor a beloved friend and someone who was “already changing lives while being here with your smile and demeanor.”
“Our lives are forever changed and honoring you through helping your children will slightly help fill that void left behind,” she wrote online.
German Villaseñor joined the Police Department in 2016, according to the Citizens Police Data Project by the Invisible Institute.