MILLCREEK — An assistant preschool teacher was shot and killed Friday as she was leaving the school to go home.
Tetyana Nikitina, 34, died when Mary Nance Hanson, 70, fired several shots at her as Nikitina drove away, said Unified Police Lt. Don Hutson. Hanson then reloaded and allegedly fired several more rounds.
The shooting occurred about 3:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Hal J. Schultz facility of the Salt Lake CAP Head Start school at 336 E. 3900 South.
Police would not comment Friday on how Hanson and Nikitina may have known each other, but the Deseret News has learned through other sources that the women may be related or were related.
Nikitina had just left the school for the day and got into her car when Hanson approached her and opened fire, Hutson said.
Hanson, armed with a .38-caliber revolver, unloaded her gun into the car as Nikitina sat in the driver's seat and began to pull away. Hanson then reloaded and continued firing through the car at close range, he said.
The revolver typically holds five rounds. Police would not say how many shots they believe were fired.
Hanson then put down her gun and called 911. When officers arrived, she was waiting for them.
When asked why she had fired the shots, Hutson said the only explanation Hanson offered a 911 operator was, "I don't know, and that's all I'm going to say."
Police also received multiple other 911 calls from employees inside the school and others in the area. There were no students at the school at the time.
After Nikitina was shot, her car rolled forward into another vehicle. She was still behind the steering wheel when officers arrived. Nikitina was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
When asked if the alleged shooter had any signs of impairment or illness, Hutson said, "She looked coherent. She made appropriate (answers) when we asked her questions."
Hanson was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Friday for investigation of murder. She is a concealed weapons permit holder, and her most recent address is in Taylorsville. Investigators found her car parked about a mile away from the crime scene, Hutson said.
According to Utah State Court records, Nikitina filed for divorce from a man named Dale Jankowski in February of 2005. But twice after that, in August 2005 and again in January 2006, Nikitina filed for a protective orders against the man, claiming cohabitant abuse.
Sources indicate that Jankowski and Hanson are possibly related.
Salt Lake CAP Head Start is a federally-funded comprehensive early childhood development program serving low-income children between the ages of 3 and 5.
Nikitina had taught at the school for five years as an assistant teacher, said Erin Trenbeath-Murray, director of Salt Lake Community Action Program, which operates the Head Start schools in Tooele and Salt Lake counties.
There were 12 staff members in the building at the time of the shooting. One staff member went outside shortly afterward and returned to report that Nikitina was dead, Trenbeath-Murray said.
A social worker was called to the school Friday to help the staffers.
It was unclear Friday whether the school would resume classes next week. "We're working on a game plan," she said.
Contributing: Amy K. Stewart, Abigail Shaha
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