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Mother of woman killed by police still asking for answers

By Sandra Yi | Posted - Mar 3rd, 2013 @ 6:02pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Four months ago, police shot and killed Melissa Kennedy's daughter, an act she called a murder. After all that time, she still has no information about what led up to it. Frustration is mounting, and Kennedy said she won't let the investigation get swept under the rug.

On Nov. 2, West Valley City Police shot Kennedy's daughter, Danielle Willard, twice in the head during an undercover investigation. Kennedy wants to know why Willard was shot when she wasn't armed.

"The amount of times that this has happened is unconscionable," she said.

"As of yesterday, it has been four months since my daughter was shot and killed," she said. "And I prefer to call it murder because that's what I feel it was."

Kennedy said she doesn't understand why it's taking police so long to finish the investigation into her daughter's death. She, along with other families who've lost loved ones at the hands of police officers, will be at a protest Monday at the state capital where they will call for police reform.

She is now back in Utah for the protest, her fourth trip since November. She lives in Washington state, but this is where her daughter's life ended. She's desperate for answers — answers that never seem to come.

Kennedy said other police shootings involving unarmed citizens raise some serious questions about police accountability. A month before Willard was killed, Corey Kanosh was shot and killed by a Millard County Sheriff's Deputy after a high speed chase.

Kanosh was unarmed. Authorities have said some kind of altercation prompted the shooting. Kanosh's family wants answers too.

If you have information.,..

Willard's family maintains a phone number where witnesses or anyone else with information about her death can confidentially pass it along. They encourage anyone who has information to call (855) 958-7842.

"There is no way that anybody out there could come close to understanding what it feels like to have your child shot and killed when there's no weapon involved," Kennedy said.

She also said the shootings raise the need for awareness about officers using deadly force.

"There's got to be change in policy," she said. "There's got to be change in the training."

The Salt Lake County District Attorney told KSL he intends to following up with West Valley City police next week on the status of the investigation.

The protest will begin at 10 a.m. and end at noon Monday on the steps of the Capitol Building.

Willard's family also maintains a phone number where witnesses or anyone else with information about her death can confidentially pass it along. They encourage anyone who has information to call (855) 958-7842.

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