WEST VALLEY CITY (News4Utah)- A West Valley City code enforcement officer is dead, a suspect is behind bars, and a home is completely destroyed after a wild morning in West Valley.
The victim was identified as 52-year-old Jill Robinson who had worked for the city for more than 10 years. West Valley City said she was a trusted colleague, a loving aunt, a proud mother and a doting grandmother.
Police said Robinson was in the area conducting code enforcement duties when she was shot and killed.
“Her vehicle was set on fire, as well as the house to the west of the house that [we believe] the suspect lives in,” Deputy Chief Mat Elson with West Valley City Police said.
The fire was reported around 10:30 a.m. at 4100 West Wendy Ave. (2920 South).
Policed identified the suspect as 64-year-old Kevin Wayne Billings. He was booked into jail on charges on arson and murder charges.
Neighbor Lanette Perkins told News4Utah she heard gunshots in the area just before the fire.
“I heard a big old boom and a few minutes later I heard people screaming and I was like ‘Oh my god’, someone got shot. And I look outside and the truck was in flames,” she said.
Perkins said she went outside to see what was going on and police were in the area firing their weapons, but West Valley City Police say that this incident does not involve shots fired by West Valley City officers.
“Some guy told me that somebody had been shot and he blew up the truck and blew up the house,” she said.
News4Utah’s Marcos Ortiz interviewed a man who told him he witnessed a murder during the fires. Watch:
Brittan Keane thought he was recording a house fire on his cell phone. That’s when he said a man walked into the picture. He became emotional when he spoke with News4Utah.
“And (I) walked over, saw a man in a walker, he had a blue shirt on and he walked out around, excuse me i’m sorry, (he) shot that lady in the face and then turned around and sat there for a second and then walked out,” said Keane.
The West Valley deputy police chief said the suspect lived at the home where Robinson was visiting as part of her code enforcement duties.
“We believe he lives at that 4102 address,” said Deputy Chief Matt Elson. “We don’t know what prior involvement he had with code enforcement, specifically the code enforcement officer.”
In addition to setting Robinson’s city-issued pickup on fire, police are puzzled as to why he allegedly set his neighbor’s house on fire too.
“That’s something we want to know and that’s part of our investigation,” said Elson.
As for the man who saw it all, Keane said he wanted to help get the woman away from the burning home but became distracted.
“This guy with the red shirt ran up and said ‘this is the guy, this is the guy’ and cops came running over,” he said. “It was a horrible experience to say the least.”