Woman killed, detective injured in officer-involved shooting in West Valley City

Published: Saturday, Nov. 3 2012 12:13 a.m. MDT

West Valley police officers investigate an officer-involved shooting at the Lexington Park apartments near 3715 South and 2200 West Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

WEST VALLEY CITY — A Washington state woman was killed and a West Valley City detective was injured in an officer-involved shooting Friday afternoon.

The incident occurred at 1:26 p.m. in the parking lot of the Lexington Park Apartments, 2293 W. Lexington Park Drive (3710 South).

The body of 21-year-old Danielle Misha Willard, of Vancouver, Wash., was lying on the ground as officers strung yellow tape around the area and attempted to block the view of the victim.

West Valley City police released Willard's name Friday night.

One police officer sustained injuries that were not life-threatening, but investigators would not say how the detective received those or comment on reports that the officer had been hit by a vehicle.

West Valley Police Sgt. Amy Maurer provided few details about the incident. She said just before the shooting, two detectives — believed to be working undercover — had been contacting someone as part of an investigation. She declined to elaborate or say whether the victim was the person being contacted.

Willard's body was on the ground near two sport utility vehicles. One gray SUV was parked in a parking stall and a red SUV was directly behind it. The driver's side of the red vehicle was against the back of the parked SUV in what appears to be an effort to block that vehicle from leaving.

The front windshield of the gray SUV had what appeared to be two bullet holes. The passenger window of that SUV was broken, and the driver's side window also appeared to be shattered. A lot of glass could be seen nearby.

Maurer said neither of the two SUVs are police vehicles.

Neighbors reported hearing between four and six gunshots.

"We heard four or five gunshots. It sounded like it came from several guns," said Elder Logan Mowatt, an LDS Church missionary who had been walking in the area with his companion.

"We were maybe half a block away … and when we walked by, we saw two individuals — one was laying on the ground, not moving. One squad car had already arrived, and two minutes (later) we had a dozen squad cars, fire truck and an ambulance and the whole area was taped off," he said.

"I heard six shots and about 15 to 18 cop cars come flying through," neighbor Josh Crittenden said.

Jessika Lehman, 16, lives next door to the apartment complex and didn't at first realize she'd heard gunfire.

"I heard some loud bangs and I did not know what was going on. I was like, 'That’s really strange.' And there have been a couple of shootings before. We've had one just right down here a couple of months ago," she said. "I thought it was like loud bangs on metal because it was so loud."

Contributing: Peter Samore

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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