The streets of Draper City were made safer by Sgt. Derek Johnson who loved his job as a police officer for the Draper City Police Department. Understanding the risk, but wanting to protect, he gave his life while on duty. —Johnson Family
DRAPER — Police have identified the two people connected with the fatal weekend shooting of a Draper police sergeant.
Timothy Troy Walker, 35, the alleged shooter, and Traci Lee Vaillancourt, 34, both remained in critical condition Tuesday at Intermountain Medical Center, police said.
Both have relatively minor criminal histories, according to state court records.
Walker was convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct in 2000. Vaillancourt was convicted of felony theft in 2004 and sentenced to probation and community service. She currently has a shoplifting charge, a misdemeanor, pending in South Jordan Justice Court.
Both are also listed in a case involving the guardianship of a minor child.
Walker's last listed address was in Sandy, not far from the scene of the fatal shooting. Vaillancourt's last listed address in court documents was in Murray. Investigators believe, however, they had been homeless and were living out of a silver Volvo.
As of Tuesday, neither person was under arrest. But Unified police officers and detectives, who are in charge of the shooting investigation, were stationed at the hospital around the clock. Investigators had been unable to interview them as of late Tuesday afternoon.
Funeral services for Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at the Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple in Salt Lake City. A public viewing will be held Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., also at the Salt Palace.
The interment will be at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 E. Dimple Dell Road (10600 South).
"The streets of Draper city were made safer by Sgt. Derek Johnson who loved his job as a police officer for the Draper City Police Department," Johnson's family noted in his obituary. "Understanding the risk, but wanting to protect, he gave his life while on duty Sept. 1, 2013, at the age of 32."
The Alta High School graduate married his middle school sweetheart, Shante Sidwell, in the Salt Lake LDS Temple in 2000. Johnson is survived by his wife and son, his 6-year-old "little buddy" Bensen.
"He was the recipient of many awards, including Life Saving Award, Distinguished Service Award, and was the 2012 Community Policing Officer of the Year. With a good nature, a sense of humor that could light up any room, attention to detail and the ability to make anyone his friend. He made a difference. He loved his family, hunting, running, hiking and giving service. He was always up for a good challenge," family members wrote.
Johnson drove up on a Volvo parked in an unusual manner at 13200 S. Fort St. shortly before 6 a.m. Sunday. Before he even got out of his vehicle, he was shot multiple times. The first contact he had with police dispatchers was an unintelligible call he made after he was shot.
He drove a short distance before crashing into a tree.
Johnson was pronounced dead Sunday at a local hospital after being pulled from his mangled police car. Officers responding to the scene said they also found Walker and Vaillancourt in critical conditions suffering from gunshot wounds. Officials believe Walker shot the woman before shooting himself.
The car had been seen in several locations in Salt Lake County. Earlier, the car had been in an accident near 13800 South and 900 East.
Victoria King, Vaillancourt's sister, said when her sister and Walker showed up at her house Saturday, she was afraid of them.
"(Walker) got out of the car and he was all hyper, pulling out a gun that had a laser on it and a machete on the side, and some little knives he had in pockets and stuff," King said. "They wanted a place to stay or some money."
The pair showed up in the Volvo, which was packed full, and they said they had been camping for about a week. When they refused to leave, King said she gave them the $4 she had in her purse. She sent a text later informing Vaillancourt she would keep her door locked that night.
King had been open with her sister in the past about her disapproval of Walker and the life they led together. When she saw them Saturday, she said there were syringes visible in the car.
"I tried to get him away from her," King said. "She chose a different path. He was bad news from the get-go, I knew it, and the two of them combined, and a loaded gun nonetheless, and strung out on drugs."
Sunday, when King got word of the shooting, she thought she recognized the Volvo on the news. Following what she said was a "gut feeling," King went to the crime scene and the Draper Police Department, where she told officers why she feared her sister might be involved.
That was when she learned Johnson had been killed and her sister had been shot. Reliving the experience Friday, King wept, recalling how her first response was to offer condolences for the fallen officer.
"My heart bleeds for them," King said through tears. "I know my sister was shot, and I feel bad, but they chose a path that I didn't want to travel down."
King said she was told her sister had been shot in the back. Other than that, police and hospital officials aren't releasing any information about Vaillancourt's condition.
King and Vaillancourt share a rare blood disease, hereditary angioedema, and the illness began to take its toll after Vaillancourt's first child was born. That's when she turned to pain medication, and eventually to drugs, King said. Vaillancourt had four strokes before she was 30.
That was when she met Walker. King called the man "bad news," but until Sunday she believed he was "all talk" when he told stories about being shot in a past drug deal.
When King talked to Walker's mother after the shooting Sunday, the woman worried about what her son was capable of.
"She said when she found out Troy had a gun, she told her other boys that 'Troy and a gun are not going to be good together,'" King said. "She was right."
The Utah Law Enforcement Memorial Facebook page noted that Johnson will be honored at the state Capitol and his name added to the wall of those killed in the line of duty, on Thursday, May 1, 2014. Following that he will be honored at the National Memorial on Aug. 15, 2014.
A memorial fund for Johnson has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank locations under the Sgt. Johnson Memorial Fund. Donations can also be made online at www.mydadsahero.com.