Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Oct. 19, 2021

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Vancouver woman fatally shot by police in Utah

Officials would not say if she was armed, fired at detectives


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.

Attempts by The Columbian to reach Kennedy were unsuccessful.

According to Willard’s Facebook page, she graduated from Gresham High School in Oregon in 2009.

A Facebook page, “Justice for Danielle Willard,” was set up on Sunday.

Paul Suarez: 360-735-4522; http://twitter.com/col_cops; paul.suarez@columbian.com.