Still few answers in WVC officer-involved shooting

Posted at 8:15 PM, Nov 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-08 00:20:37-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - The mother of a young woman killed in an officer-involved shooting is returning to her home state with conflicting information about her daughter’s death.

21-year-old Danielle Willard was shot to death almost a week ago during a West Valley Police investigation. It happened in the parking lot at the Lexington Park apartments near 2200 West and 3700 South.

On Wednesday, tenants snapped photos of West Valley cops back in the parking lot where Willard was killed. Tenants say police were re-creating the shooting to try and get more answers.

According to Willard’s mother, police haven’t told her why they used deadly force but have said Willard wasn’t armed.

“The detective confirmed that. There was not a weapon on her person and they had done an inventory of the car and haven’t found any kind of weapon there either,” said Kennedy.

A plain clothes detective wasn’t shot but was injured. Police haven’t said the nature of the injury. Willard’s body was found on the passenger side of her Subaru. Witnesses told her mother someone else was driving, a man who ran off. West Valley Police won’t comment on the investigation but Kennedy says detectives told her Willard was by herself.

“The detectives say she was driving,” said Kennedy.

Meanwhile, it’s unclear why a red SUV was butted perpendicular against Willard’s car. Police haven’t said if an accident led to the officer’s injury but in video taken the night of the shooting, the truck appeared unscathed. When FOX 13 cameras filmed the same vehicle Tuesday, it barely had a scratch on it.

“All I know about that is the guy who owns the vehicle says he was at work at the time, his wife did not move the vehicle and they have no idea how that vehicle got behind hers,” said Kennedy.

A bizarre chain of events and conflicting information is what Melissa Kennedy is left with as she returns to Vancouver, Washington for her daughter’s funeral. The Facebook page “Justice for Danielle Willard” is growing with members of the community upset that police remain silent but Kennedy says she’s happy with how West Valley Police are handling the incident and believes the answers are coming soon.

“Do you want answers now or do you want the truth?,” said Kennedy. “You can get answers now and get a partial truth or you can wait and let them take their time, do what they need to do and get the truth. the truth will come out in the end, we just need patience.”

Danielle Willard was cremated. Her mother boarded a plane for Washington Wednesday night with her daughter’s ashes. Willard’s funeral is Saturday in Vancouver.