LITTLE VILLAGE — Family members and advocates rallied outside the Cook County Criminal Courthouse Tuesday to demand justice for slain police officer German Villaseñor.
Villaseñor was fatally shot during a domestic fight with his wife, also a Chicago officer, earlier this month at their home near O’Hare. Prosecutors said the couple was fighting when Jacqueline Villaseñor took a gun out of her holster. The two were struggling over the gun when it went off, shooting German Villaseñor in the chest.
Prosecutors said Jacqueline Villaseñor, 39, had threatened to kill herself before the shooting and smelled of alcohol. She is charged with involuntary manslaughter and was released on a $5,000 bond three weeks ago, but her husband’s family has unanswered questions and wants to see more stringent charges brought against her.
Carrying pictures of German Villaseñor on wooden crosses, signs and posters, relatives, Latino community leaders and officers from the district where he worked held a prayer vigil with music, chants and speeches in Spanish. At the end, organizers played the song “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth as an ode to the slain officer and on behalf of his partners.
Genaro Martínez, German Villaseñor’s uncle who lives in Mundelein, attended the vigil to stand up for his nephew.
“I don’t think the shooting was an accident,” Martínez said in Spanish. “She needs to be held responsible for what she did. Her actions were criminal.”
Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, said she could not comment on the charges.
Julie Contreras, an organizer with United Giving Hope who is advocating for German Villaseñor’s parents, said the family also wants Jacqueline Villaseñor to pay a higher bond and to be held on electronic monitoring.
“Unintentional shootings are not accidents especially if alcohol is involved,” Contreras said. “If intoxication is involved, it can cause people to be violent. … The family is concerned. She is out on $5,000 bond. She doesn’t have an ankle bracelet. If she wants, she can cross the state line and get another gun.”
Contreras said Leticia Gonzalez, German Villaseñor’s mother, recalled a history of aggression and fights between the couple. At Jacqueline Villaseñor’s bond hearing, prosecutors said the two were arguing about the wife’s recent affair and were alone in their bedroom at the time of the shooting.
“I will be a voice for my son on this earth,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “My husband and I want justice for my son who dedicated his life to serve and protect.”
German Villaseñor was born in Michoacán, Mexico and was a longtime resident of Chicago, his family said. His parents were granted a humanitarian visa with help from United Giving Hope to attend their son’s funeral but had to return to Mexico because their visas were temporary, Contreras said.
Martínez remembered his nephew as a kind man and father who was never angry and always wanted to help others.
“He was a really good person and always helped others who needed help,” he said.
A GoFundMe that was created to help with funeral expenses and to raise money for the couple’s two children raised over $17,000 and is no longer accepting donations.
“German was a wonderful person and the generosity that has been shared is more than he probably could ever have imagined,” wrote organizer Carlos Castillo.
At Gonzalez’s request, Contreras said she plans to keep fighting for German Villaseñor’s justice.
At bond court, 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.
Jacqueline Villaseñor has been placed on administrative duties within the Police Department for 30 days while the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and detectives investigate, police said. She is due to appear in court again Dec. 2.
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