Charges: Gun fell out of man's sweatpants and discharged, fatally striking woman outside Trend Bar in St. Paul

A 20-year-old St. Paul, Minnesota man is charged in the shooting death of a woman he was talking to outside the Trend Bar early Wednesday morning after his gun allegedly fell out of his waistband and discharged, striking her in the stomach. 

Dominque Dangelo Taylor, 20, of St. Paul is charged with second-degree manslaughter and crime to benefit a gang in connection with the death of Taquita Williams, 25, of St. Paul. 

According to the charges, officers were sent to the Trend Bar in St. Paul on a report of a shooting. Once arrived, they found a small pool of blood and some shell casings in the area, but did not find a victim.

The shooting was caught on the bar’s surveillance video. The video showed Taylor and Williams outside the bar. They “appeared to be playfully interacting by jostling and shoving one another,” the charges say. 

Taylor stepped over the curb while holding onto Williams arms and pulled her along with him. People in the foreground of the video ducked in response to a gunshot. Williams grabbed her abdomen with both hands and, after a few steps, went to the ground. 

Taylor was seen on the video picking something up from the ground and putting it in his pants. He then got into the seat of a Chevrolet Tahoe and left the area. 

Another person at the scene told police he heard gunshots outside the bar. He saw Williams laying on the ground, so he picked her up and drove her to Regions Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 1:45 a.m. 

Surveillance video from Regions showed a Chevrolet Tahoe bearing the same license plates as the one Taylor left the Trend Bar in arrived at the hospital at 1:53 p.m. One person got out of the Tahoe. 

Officers at the hospital received a surveillance photo and saw that Taylor was sitting by the stairs outside the hospital’s emergency room. They approached him and asked if he had any weapons. He admitted to having a handgun in his sweatpants and said it was the one that went off and hit Williams when the gun hit the ground. 

Officers asked Taylor if it was safe to remove the gun from his sweatpants or if there were concerns that it could get caught on something that might cause it to discharge. According to the charges, Taylor replied, “I don’t know. That’s the one that went off on her." 

Officers arrested Taylor. 

Taylor agreed to speak to investigators. He told them the shooting was an accident and that he had the handgun in his waistband so he could “quick draw.” 

He said he was talking to Williams outside the bar. She grabbed him and the gun fell to the ground, discharged and the bullet hit her. 

Taylor said he was “too drunk” to stop the handgun from falling from his pants. He picked up the gun, put it back in his pants and had someone drive him to Regions Hospital to check on Williams.  

Taylor said he thought about hiding the handgun before going to the hospital, but that he still needed to protect himself because he was the founder of the St. Paul street gang “Just My Bros” and needed the gun as protection from East gangs, according to the charges. 

Taylor told investigators he bought the gun on the street about a week ago. He said the gun’s safety was not engaged because “he doesn’t have time to disengage the safety should he need to shoot in public,” the charges say. 

Taylor has two prior felony convictions for aggravated robbery in the first degree that make him ineligible to possess firearms or ammunition. He was released from prison on May 4. 

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Williams’ death a homicide.