A 27-year-old man accused of shooting his 16-year-old girlfriend three times is being held on $3 million bail, reported the Hartford Courant.
Dominique Pittman of Waterbury Connecticut faces charges of murder and criminal possession of a firearm in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Wilby High School student Evelyse Santiago. He may face additional charges depending on when the relationship started. The age of consent in Connecticut is 16.
“This is a devastating incident,” Waterbury Deputy Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo told WTNH.
“They were involved in some sort of dating relationship—some sort of inappropriate relationship so this one really pulls at the heartstrings and boggles the mind quite frankly,” said Spagnolo.
Police Find Grisly Surprise at Crash Site
Waterbury police responded to a call about a car hitting a utility pole in the 1700 block of Thomaston Avenue sometime after 8 p.m. on the night of Dec. 4. They found a silver four-door Nissan on the lawn of 1704 Thomaston.
The car had hit two utility poles before coming to a stop and catching fire. Local residents had extinguished the fire with hand-held fire extinguishers and one was about to break the car’s windows with a hammer to rescue the two occupants.
One of the occupants was Dominique Pittman. Pittman, who had been driving, was shaken up but not seriously injured. He was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for scrapes and bruises, then brought to the Waterbury Police Station.
The other occupant, Evelyse Santiago, was dead—and possibly was dead before the crash, according to Deputy Chief Spagnolo.
Santiago had been shot three times—twice in the head and once in the hand. The gun used in the shooting, a .357 handgun, was recovered from the car.
“Something occurred throughout the night that created this tumultuous incident to the point where Pittman shot Santiago,” Spagnolo told the Hartford Courant.
While the police do not know when Pittman and Santiago started dating, they did note that Pittman had been married to Santiago’s older sister and had three children with her.
Charged With Murder
Pittman was arraigned Wednesday, Dec. 6, and charged with murder and criminal possession of a firearm.
State’s Attorney Maureen Platt painted Pittman as dangerous and dishonest, and a flight risk.
“The state alleges the defendant committed a vicious murder of a 16-year-old,” Platt told Superior Court Judge Barry Armata. Platt went on to say that Pittman had “attempted to mislead police, stating a third person was responsible for the murder.”
In his defense, Public Defender Rose Montesi said Pittman had held his warehouse job for five years, and was supporting three children.
Montesi did not mention that those children were Evelyse Santiago’s nieces.
— Stephanie Simoni (@StephanieSimoni) December 5, 2017
Bystanders Did Their Best
The people who witnessed the accident and its aftermath were stunned to learn that the crash site was actually a murder scene.
Kisha Vargas told WTNH that she called 911, then ran to the burning car with a fire extinguisher. As a nursing student, she is in training to save lives.
“I couldn’t go to sleep. I’ve been crying and I go to school for nursing and we were trying everything,” she said “We were trying to do everything in our power to help.
“My condolences goes out to the family. I pray for your loss and for everybody that’s impacted,” said Vargas.
Alexsa Flores lives near the crash site. Her daughter ran to see what was happening, then ran back to grab a hammer to break the car windows to free the passengers.
“Everybody is running down [the street] yelling, ‘What’s going on?,’” Flores said. “My 16-year-old [daughter] comes and she runs out to see what it is.”
“Everyone’s screaming ‘Grab extinguishers, get extinguishers, we need water! The car’s on fire!’” Alexsa Flores told the Harford Courant. “So then everyone’s trying to put out the fire. My daughter comes back, ‘Mom, I need a hammer, we’re trying to break, the, you know, to get them out.’”
“So she goes back, and she’s like, ‘There’s blood everywhere, there’s a woman pinned under the car.’
“Cops, ambulances, fire department they were all here within minutes, minutes they were all here, and flooded the area, but nothing could be done for the female in there.”
When she learned of what had happened Flores asked, “Who would do that to a 16-year-old?”
A GoFundMe page has been posted to help the Santiago family pay for the funeral.
Do you think a high school student should be allowed to date an adult man? Do you think Santiago’s parents should have known, and stopped it? Post your comments below.
If you liked this article, consider sharing it with your friends.