Former Gresham High athlete killed in Utah

Former Gresham High athlete killed in Utah

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by Erica Heartquist

Bio | Email | Follow: @EricaHeartquist

kgw.com

Posted on November 3, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 5 at 6:34 AM

SALT LAKE CITY -- A former Gresham High School star athlete was killed in Salt Lake City by police crossfire Friday.

The family of Danielle Willard in Vancouver told KGW about the personal demons that may have contributed to her death.

"My sister was such an amazing person inside and out," said Kayleen Willard, Danielle’s sister. "She brought so much happiness and life into a room and you wanted to smile."

A chaplain came to Kayleen Willard’s door Friday to tell her family her 21-year-old sister had been shot and killed in an officer involved shooting in Utah.

Danielle Willard graduated from Gresham high school in 2009. She was a varsity soccer player and she won State her freshman year in track. She wanted to be a professional photographer, but she'd hit some bumps in the road.

Her father said Danielle battled heroin addiction, had gone through rehab in Utah, and had been clean for almost a year.

She was turning her life around.

But late Friday night, the medical examiner removed Danielle’s body from the scene of the shooting.

"I just feel like she got mixed up with the wrong people again, and she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Kayleen Willard said.

Police in Utah are saying very little about what happened -- only that yesterday's shooting happened during a police investigation.

They said that two detectives were "making contact" when shots were fired, and one officer was hurt, but investigator's haven't said how. Danielle's body was on the ground near two SUVs.

While police investigate how her sister was killed, Kayleen Willard remembers a fun visit she had with her sister just two months ago.

"I will see her someday and I’ll be able to say to her the things that I never got to say to her before," she said.

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