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Records: Utah shooting suspect owed child support

  • Article by: PAUL FOY
  • Associated Press
  • September 3, 2013 - 6:45 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — A transient accused of fatally shooting a police sergeant in a Salt Lake City suburb owes more than $42,000 in child support payments and was at risk of being jailed for it, court records obtained Tuesday show.

The suspect, Timothy T. Walker, 35, remained in critical but stable condition from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Unified Police spokesman Justin Hoyal said.

He has not yet been charged in the killing of 32-year-old Draper police Sgt. Derek Johnson, but Hoyal said charges were forthcoming.

Authorities said Johnson was on patrol early Sunday morning when he spotted an oddly parked vehicle and pulled over to investigate. He was shot behind the wheel of his police cruiser before he could draw his weapon and was able to drive a few blocks before crashing into a tree, Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder has said.

Police believe Walker shot Johnson before wounding a woman he was with and then himself.

Prior to the shootings, the couple struck rocks and fences with the car before coming to a stop where Johnson encountered them, authorities said.

Detectives were waiting to interview Walker and the woman, identified as Traci L. Vaillancourt, 34, before filing charges. Vaillancourt also was in critical condition and police stressed that she was a victim in the incident.

Police said both are transients living out of a car and have roots in the area.

Court records show that Walker and Vaillancourt have a 5-year-old daughter who is being raised by Walker's mother after she was granted permanent custody in July.

Walker's ex-wife and mother didn't return phone messages left by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Records show that Walker owes $42,481 in child support payments to an ex-wife going back to 2004. Earlier this year, he was ordered to show why he shouldn't be jailed for failing to make the payments, but the hearing was canceled. It wasn't clear why.

It wasn't immediately clear from court records how many children Walker has.

His ex-wife obtained a protective order against Walker after filing for the divorce in March 2004. The petition was later dropped.

Walker's only criminal violation in Utah was a disorderly conduct conviction in 2000. He was fined $250 and another charge of public intoxication was dropped. In 2007, he settled a traffic infraction for erratic driving on Interstate-15 with a $132 fine. He nearly collided with two vehicles, according to court records.

Court records also show Vaillancourt pleaded guilty to theft charges in 2003 — the most serious charge in a criminal record littered with traffic violations and debt.

She was most recently charged with retail theft on Aug. 20 in South Jordan Her arraignment was scheduled for Sept. 16.

"As to why these individuals did it will evolve through the remainder of this investigation," Winder said. "But make no make no doubt about it: Officer Johnson was just doing his job and was gunned down."

Burial will be at Larkin Sunset Gardens in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy.

Randy Johnson said his son loved being a police officer and always tried to treat others with respect no matter the situation. The sergeant leaves behind a wife and young son.

"What a man he was, and is," Randy Johnson said Monday. "We are going to sorely miss him."

Johnson is the first Draper police officer killed in the line of duty since the agency was formed in 2003, said Draper City spokeswoman Maridene Hancock. Draper is a city of 44,000 about 15 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Johnson became a full-time officer in Draper in 2004 and was promoted to sergeant in 2012.

Larkin Mortuary said a public viewing of the fallen officer is set for Thursday evening, followed by a funeral at 11 a.m. Friday. The location was still being decided.

© 2014 Star Tribune