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SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah teacher shot and killed her ex-husband’s girlfriend in front of the former couple’s children, police said in jail documents released Monday. Chelsea Watrous Cook, 32, came to her former husband’s suburban Salt Lake City apartment to deliver cold medicine to one of their 3-year-old twins Sunday night, police said.
Cook entered while the man was in the parking lot, locked herself in a bathroom and called 911. It’s not clear what she told the operator, but when she came out she grabbed a gun from her coat and fired several times at Lisa Vilate Williams, police said.
Williams, 26, was hit at least twice in the torso and fell back to a couch while Cook sat down in a chair near the children.
The man took the gun and tried to help Williams. He pinned Cook to a wall when she tried to walk back to her coat, and held her until police arrived.
Williams died at a hospital.
The children “were present during the entire ordeal,” officers wrote in the probable cause statement.
Cook was arrested on suspicion of aggravated murder. No attorney was immediately listed for Cook in court documents, and messages left at numbers listed for her were not immediately returned.
Cook was a health teacher at Skyridge High School in Lehi, and had been scheduled to teach yoga next term, said Kimberly Bird, assistant to the superintendent at Alpine School District. She had worked for the district for four years, but the district sent a letter terminating her employment after the arrest.
“Honestly, this news is just shocking and disturbing, I can’t explain it any other way,” Bird said. “As an adult, it’s hard for me to process, I can’t imagine a 14-year-old freshman having to deal with that information.”
CBS affiliate KUTV reports that the school released a statement, calling it a “heartbreaking incident.”
“This type of news is hard to comprehend and we want you to know that teachers, counselors and your parents can help provide support in this difficult time,” the school said.
Court records show her husband filed for divorce in August 2017, and it was finalized in January. Cook was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in the presence of a child on Oct. 16. Court records do not detail the incident. She had pleaded not guilty.
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