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Couple connected to fatal shooting were 'poison' together, friends say

Couple connected to fatal shooting were 'poison' together, friends say

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SALT LAKE CITY — Those who know Timothy Troy Walker and Traci Lee Vaillancourt best say together, the couple was "poison."

"Anyone who knows him is blown away by this. No one would have expected this," one person who knows Walker well said of the man suspected of shooting and killing a Draper police officer. The friend wished to remain anonymous for safety concerns.

Walker, 35, and Vaillancourt, 34, remained in critical condition at Intermountain Medical Center on Wednesday. Neither was officially under arrest, but police were maintaining a 24-hour presence at the hospital to be ready for when a time came that investigators might be able to interview the two.

Walker is believed to have killed Sgt. Derek Johnson — shooting him multiple times without warning — and shooting Vaillancourt before turning the gun on himself. It was unclear Wednesday whether Vaillancourt was shot before or after Walker. Vaillancourt's sister, Victoria King, said she was shot in the back.

King said Tuesday night that she had voiced her disapproval of Walker to her sister in the past.

"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."

Those who know Walker say it was when the two were together that their self-destructive sides came out.

Walker's friend said Troy and Traci originally met in school and had lost touch before reconnecting about seven years ago. The friend described Walker as a person who couldn't hold a job because he was "lazy," and also as a "big kid," but someone who was raised in a good home.

"He wasn't a violent person," according to the friend. "Everyone who knows him would say he never grew up."

Both Walker and Vaillancourt have relatively minor criminal histories, according to state court records.

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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.

But King called the man "bad news." 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."

Both King and Walker's friend have offered their deepest condolences to the Johnson family. Walker's friend said there is no excuse for what he allegedly did, but he wasn't always the monster he has been made out to be in recent days.

Vaillancourt and Walker have a daughter together as well as a child each from previous relationships.

Walker's mother, Cheri, has been raising Troy and Traci's 5-year-old daughter since she was very young. Earlier this year, she filed for official guardianship of her, according to court documents.

He wasn't a violent person. Everyone who knows him would say he never grew up.

–friend of Walker

"Considering the child’s physical, mental, moral, and emotional needs, it is in the child’s best interest for Cheri Walker to be granted a permanent guardianship of the minor child," according to court documents.

Cheri Walker has also been, "providing for virtually all of the care, housing, support, physical, financial and emotional needs of the child," since 2009, according to the guardianship petition filed in 3rd District Court.

Walker's friend said Troy and Traci had been living from motel to motel for the past couple of years. Police had said they were homeless at the time of the shooting. King said her sister told her they had been living in their Volvo for about a week.

Vaillancourt has a rare blood disease, hereditary angioedema, that began to take its toll after Vaillancourt's first child was born. King said the disorder can make the limbs, throat and face swell. King also suffers from the same disorder.

That's when she became addicted to pain medication, King said. Vaillancourt had four strokes before she was 30.

The pictures of the former model prior to her strokes are strikingly different from her latest mug shot.

King 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."

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.


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Pat Reavy


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