Vancouver woman shot to death by Utah police - KPTV - FOX 12

Vancouver woman shot to death by Utah police

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A Vancouver woman was shot to death by Utah police, and tonight her family is desperate for answers.

Danielle Willard, 21, was shot by undercover detectives with the West Valley City Utah Police Department on Nov. 2, just before 1:30 p.m.

Detectives said they ran into Willard at the Lexington Park Apartments while they were in the area for a drug-related investigation.

They made contact with Willard who was in her car, and during that time shots were fired by detectives.

Willard was struck twice in the head, and died, according to police.

"My first thought is no, no, there's some mistake. This can't be happening," said Willard's mother Melissa Kennedy.

Kennedy said her daughter struggled with a drug addiction in recent years and went to a rehab facility in Utah to get away from it all.

Kennedy believes Willard was clean at the time of her death, but, because of her previous addiction to drugs, her daughter was still surrounded by addicts.

Kennedy fears her daughter was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time on that Friday and it cost her life.

"It's the worst thing that could ever happen to a parent, losing your child," said Kennedy.

Kennedy flew all the way to the state of Utah to get answers from detectives, and said they had little information to give her.

"I asked the lead detective, 'Was there a weapon, did Danielle have a Weapon?' and they said 'No, there was not a weapon on her,'" said Kennedy. 

"When they looked through the car, they told me they couldn't find a weapon there either."

Kennedy also said witnesses told her Willard wasn't driving, and wasn't alone. Which leaves her questioning  if perhaps her daughter wasn't the target of fire.

"Witnesses said they saw Danielle and this other guy get out of the vehicle and approach cops. They said the guy with her pulled out a gun. However, the detectives are adamant that there was no other man there. So, what prompted the undercover agents to even draw their gun," asked Kennedy.

That's the big question weighing heavy on the hearts of Willard's family. Left in the dark, even now, two weeks after she was shot.

"I want to believe that they did it to preserve their life, or someone else's life, and I just keep thinking they didn't know her at all. I know her, and I know that she would not in any way harm anybody or anything ever, but they don't know her," said Kennedy.

Utah Detectives are remaining tight-lipped about the investigation even to FOX 12.

One of the two officers involved in the shooting was reportedly injured. Investigators said he was not shot, but would not speak to the nature of his injuries.

Both of the officers have been placed on administrative leave for the remainder of the investigation.

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