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Code enforcement officer killed in WVC

WEST VALLEY CITY — Smoke filled a neighborhood near 4100 W. Wendy Way (2920 S.), where a home and truck burned and police say a code enforcement officer, revealed as Jill Robinson, was shot and killed.

(Photo Credit: West Valley City)

Robinson worked in code enforcement for over 10 years and is being remembered as a warm person who was adored by her family, and loved playing softball.  Sam Johnson with West Valley City knew her personally.

Johnson says, “She was always very friendly.  She was always quick to smile and wave at you.  She was a terrific person.”

One person, a 64-year old man, is in custody.

Witnesses say the two-story house, outbuildings and the city pickup truck went up in flames around 10:30 Thursday morning.

 

Investigators say, along with the shooting, the suspect is believed to have set two fires, intentionally.

West Valley Police Deputy Chief Matt Elson says, “Her code enforcement vehicle, which was parked out front, was set on fire, as well as the house to the west.”

Police are still trying to determine why the neighboring house was burned, but it appears to be a total loss.

Eyewitness Brittan Keane says he came to the home after seeing a plume of smoke, which turned out to be from the fire city worker’s vehicle.

“Then, I see a guy with a walker and a blue shirt comes walking out and he came across and walked behind the truck.  I was like, ‘He’s going to get burned.  Oh my gosh!  Oh, my gosh!'” Keane says.

That’s when Keane claims the suspect opened fire on the city worker, point blank.  After that, the suspect seemed unaffected while police were arresting him.

He adds, “He was just sitting there, pretty normally.  The neighbors were screaming, ‘He just shot that lady!  He just shot that lady!'”

Nate Reese ran from his home near 4060 West 2920 South. He also heard gunshots but says none came from police.

“I saw the smoke going up, so I decided to come over here. And then I saw the truck was on fire. I got up a little closer and saw everyone yelling over there,” Reese says.

Pam Nichols said her friend, unrelated to the shooting, was hospitalized with bad burns. She had been caring for ailing dogs, which she says all died in the flames.

“They’re the nicest people. She’s the best doctor, a great veterinarian, always rescuing geriatric pets, which is why their house was full of little old dogs that couldn’t get out,” Nichols says. “I was here to try to get the bodies of the pets, and I can’t, because now it’s a crime scene. It’s just really sad.”

Investigators said the code enforcement officer who was killed was at that address in the course of her work for West Valley City. Because she is a city employee, Salt Lake City will be taking over the investigation.

Police said they believe there is a history of code enforcement activity or violations at the address on Wendy Way, though they could not say exactly what that entailed or whether it involved the same code enforcement officer.

Code enforcement officers are separate from the police department; in this case, the code enforcement officer was unarmed.

This story will be updated.