Draper • Victoria King was enjoying Saturday afternoon with her family when Traci L. Vaillancourt and Timothy "Troy" Walker showed up at her Draper home. It was the first time King had heard from her sister in months. Predictably, King said, the couple needed money.
King could not anticipate that less than a day later, Walker would be suspected in a shooting spree that left a police sergeant dead and Vaillancourt and Walker critically wounded.
Now detectives are waiting for the couple to stabilize before they can learn what led to the fatal shooting of Draper Sgt. Derek Johnson.
Looking back on Walker’s behavior Saturday afternoon, King recalls details that are chilling in retrospect but at the time seemed characteristic of the dysfunction that estranged King from the couple in the first place.
Walker, 35, and Vaillancourt, 34, appeared to be on drugs when they arrived, King said. Vaillancourt had struggled with addiction for nearly a decade, since she started taking painkillers to deal with swelling from a blood disorder. Walker, meanwhile, was talking "a mile a minute," King said.
Inside King’s home, Walker was "excited" to show off his weapons, King said. Little knives or daggers were stashed in his socks, and a machete was in the side pocket of his backpack, King said.
"He said, ‘Check this out!’ and got out a gun," King said. Her teenage son’s friend gasped. King said Walker retorted, "You’d understand if you had a wife."
Walker and Vaillancourt said they had been camping for awhile and brought the weapons for protection, King recalled. The two had been living in and out of hotels for years, she said. King gathered $4.50 from her purse, tossed it in a plastic bag for her sister and shooed them away. They drove off in a silver car she had never seen before.
"For years I have kept them away from my children. They chose a different path," King said.
Growing up in Sandy, Vaillancourt had been "drop dead gorgeous" and had done some modeling, King said. But about a decade ago, she began to slip deeper into addiction, King said.
"She would cry, ‘I never pictured my life turning out like this,’" King said. Walker gave Vaillancourt attention, King said, and Vaillancourt "was attached to him at the hip."
Five years ago they had a daughter, who has lived most of her life with her grandmother, according to court records. Shortly after the girl’s birth, Vaillancourt suffered a series of strokes that left her impaired, King said. In 2009, Walker signed an agreement granting temporary guardianship of the girl to the grandmother; on July 31, 2013, the grandmother received permanent custody. King said Walker and Vaillancourt never responded to the custody notices.
In the meantime, the couple have been in and out of legal trouble. Walker was charged in February with three counts of possession or use of a controlled substance and had a warrant for missing an Aug. 7 court date. He also pleaded not guilty in December to charges of labeling or packing a controlled substance. Walker was convicted in 2008 of using plates registered to another vehicle, operating a vehicle without insurance, driving on a denied license and failure to appear on a citation. In 2003, he was convicted of driving on a suspended license and no proof of insurance.
Vaillancourt was charged Aug. 20 with misdemeanor shoplifting. She also pleaded guilty in 2004 to third-degree felony theft in exchange for the dismissal of six other misdemeanor counts of theft by deception.
"We tried and tried and tried to help her," King said. "But you can’t help someone who won’t help them self."
On Sunday morning, King saw a picture of a silver Volvo in news coverage of a lockdown in Draper.
"I had a bad feeling," she said. She told officers that it looked like the car Vaillancourt and Walker were driving. She gave a description of the couple. It matched, she said.
Police reported that Johnson, 32, pulled up to the silver Volvo, which was parked at an odd angle at 13200 South and Fort Street (900 East). Soon thereafter, police said, the man in the Volvo pulled out a gun and ambushed Johnson, shooting the officer as he sat inside his police car.
Johnson later was pronounced dead at Intermountain Medical Center.
At some point, Walker apparently shot Vaillancourt and then himself in an apparent attempted murder-suicide, police have said. Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said Tuesday that the two remained in critical condition at Intermountain Medical Center, both suffering from gunshot wounds. Hoyal declined to further specify their injuries, but King said she was told that her sister was shot in the back.
"I know she was a victim, but I felt like I already lost her a long time ago. My heart is absolutely bleeding for Derek Johnson’s family," King said, choking back tears. "I just want them to know I’m sorry."Next Page >
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