Friend: Accused killer of Draper officer struggled with drug use for years
A man accused of killing a Draper police officer will face a judge for the first time in the case next week.
A judge on Thursday scheduled Timothy Troy Walker's arraignment for Monday. Walker, 34, faces one count of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, as well as five other firearm-related felonies for firing a gun, for killing Draper Sgt. Derek Johnson on Sept. 1. Police say Walker ambushed Johnson, then turned the gun on himself and his girlfriend, 34-year-old Traci Vaillancourt.
Johnson died later that day at a hospital.
The shooting, along with Walker's subsequent time in the hospital, left many unanswered questions about what happened and why. The incident reportedly began when Johnson stopped to investigate an oddly parked car, later identified as Walker's Volvo. In the aftermath, Walker and Vaillancourt were described as having lived in the Volvo and used drugs.
But despite Walker's current criminal case, Todd Ingersoll still counts him as a friend and shed light on his background. Ingersoll said he met Walker more than a decade ago. The two men worked together framing homes in Draper and other Utah cities, and eventually ended up as roommates in downtown Salt Lake City.
Ingersoll described Walker as a talented framing carpenter and a smart person who nevertheless struggled over the years. Walker was the friend Ingersoll and others called when they "needed to have a good time" because he was on a "permanent vacation." Walker also used drugs and drank, Ingersoll said, and got into more serious substance abuse when he met Vaillancourt.
"When those two met, that was like the perfect storm of drug use," Ingersoll recalled. "Troy's no saint by any means, but he got caught up in that."
Police have called Vaillancourt, who was hospitalized after the shooting, a victim in the case, though she is facing obstruction of justice charges for allegedly giving police a fake story. She also is scheduled for a Monday arraignment.
Prosecutors filed Vaillancourt's and Walker's charges Wednesday.
Ingersoll said years ago he eventually stopped seeing Walker, though in recent months they reconnected. Walker appeared to be "on the up and up." He was talking about working again and looked healthier, Ingersoll said.
Walker also needed a car, so Ingersoll gave him a Volvo that was sitting unused in his garage. Walker made payments on the car with money from a largesettlementVaillancourt had received, Ingersoll said. That money reportedly came from back payments of Social Security Disability Insurance that Vaillancourt was owed due to a debilitating blood disorder, sources have told The Tribune.
The vehicle never legally changed ownership. Ingersoll added that Walker only had the car for a matter of weeks and was not living in it as was widely reported. Instead, Walker was living in hotels with Vaillancourt, Ingersoll said.
Ingersoll didn't know what might have caused Walker to allegedly fatally shoot Johnson. He said Walker was always interested in guns but wasn't prone to acts of unprovoked aggression.
"Troy always wanted to be famous," Ingersoll added. "He always felt like he was destined to be famous."