Danielle Willard, 21, was shot and killed by West Valley City police detectives during an investigation at an apartment complex
A 21-year-old Vancouver woman was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting south of Salt Lake City, Utah, on Friday.
Danielle Misha Willard was shot by West Valley City Police Department detectives who were conducting an investigation at an apartment complex around 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to a West Valley police bulletin.
A detective was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Police are releasing few details on the incident. They did not say if Willard was armed or fired at police.
Sgt. Mike Powell, spokesman for West Valley police, said the injured officer was evaluated at the hospital and released. Two detectives involved in the incident were put on paid administrative leave, standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting, he said.
Powell said further details weren’t available.
The Deseret News reported that officials would not say Friday how the detective was injured. Sgt. Amy Maurer told the paper that two detectives had contacted someone before the shooting but wouldn’t say if it was Willard.
Willard’s family said she was addicted to heroin for the past few years and moved to Utah in April for treatment, The Deseret News reported.
Her mother, Melissa Kennedy of Vancouver, told the paper she wasn’t sure why her daughter was shot.
“Everything that keeps going through my mind is speculation. Did she get back on drugs? Was she really clean? Was it ‘Wrong place at the wrong time’? I don’t know,” Kennedy told The Deseret News in a phone interview.
At the time Danielle Willard was shot by West Valley City detectives on Friday in an incident police say is still under investigation, she seemed to be doing better after her battles with drug addiction, according to her family. The 21-year-old moved to Murray from Vancouver, Wash., to live in a rehabilitation facility in April. After three months there, Willard’s mother, Melissa Kennedy, urged her to stay.
Danielle Willard, 21, was shot and killed Friday by West Valley City police detectives during an investigation at an apartment complex. Police have released few details about the shooting. A native of Vancouver, Wash., Willard came to Murray in April to live in a drug rehabilitation center.
"We wanted her to stay there because we thought she would be safe there," Kennedy said Saturday in a telephone interview from her Vancouver home. "Obviously, that’s not true either." Before entering rehab, Willard struggled with heroin addiction. Kennedy said she had no idea what her daughter was doing in the apartment complex where she was shot and another officer was injured. The officer’s injuries did not come from gunshots, and police have not said whether any shots were exchanged.
Kennedy said she hoped Willard hadn’t fallen back into drugs, but she couldn’t know for sure. There are a lot of things she doesn’t know right now.
"We’re very upset that our baby’s gone," Kennedy said, "but we’re really craving answers."
Since a pastor contacted her family to tell them to call a West Valley police detective, Willard’s family hasn’t been told much about their daughter’s death. It was still unknown on Saturday whether Willard was armed or where on her body she was shot. A silver car that was involved in the shooting was Willard’s, according to Kennedy. She said Willard was in the car when she was shot.
Willard did not own a weapon and wasn’t one to pick fights, Kennedy said. "The main thing I want to know is did she have a gun in her hand," she said. "I just don’t see it."
On Saturday, West Valley City police did not release more information about the incident that led to Willard’s death and said they wouldn’t until Monday at the earliest.
Willard, known to her family as Dee Dee, had a 19-year-old sister and a 14-year-old brother. She was passionate about photography, and despite her struggles with drugs, was a generally happy person, her mother said.
"She was a happy girl for the most part," Kennedy said. "Her smile was gorgeous."
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