Davis, CA – Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona was murdered in the line of duty as she was responding to a report of a three-car collision on Thursday night.
Officer Corona, 22, had completed her field training just two weeks earlier, KOVR reported.
“She was a rising star in the department,” Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said in a press conference just before midnight. “She just worked like you can’t believe.”
The incident occurred at approximately 6:45 p.m., after Officer Corona arrived at the scene of a three-car pileup, KOVR reported.
She was then fatally shot by an unidentified gunman, who promptly fled the scene.
No information has been released at this time about what led up to the shooting after Officer Corona’s arrival.
Officer Corona was transported to University of California – Davis Medical Center where she succumbed to her gunshot wounds.
Police soon tracked the suspect to a residence in the 500-block of Fifth Street – approximately a block away from the murder scene, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Over the course of several hours, they attempted to coax the gunman into surrendering using a loudspeaker and floodlights.
They eventually deployed a robot into the home, and set off flash bang grenades.
“The shooter had been found, deceased, inside a home near 5th and E St in Davis with what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the Davis Police Department tweeted at 1:28 a.m. on Friday.
The gunman’s identity has not been released, but police described him as a white male in his 20s.
Officer Corona began serving the Davis Police Department as a community service officer in 2016, The Sacramento Bee reported.
When the agency ran out of money to fund her position at one point, she kept showing up to work anyway, and volunteered her time instead, Chief Pytel said.
“I haven’t seen anybody work harder in a part-time capacity and be more motivated to be a police officer than Natalie,” he explained. “She was just an absolute star in the department and someone that pretty much every department member looked to as a close friend, a sister.”
Officer Corona graduated from the Sacramento Police Department training academy in July of 2018, and wrapped up her field training just two weeks ago.
“We’re just absolutely devastated about the loss,” Chief Pytel said.
Officer Corona’s father, a 26-year veteran of the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office, pinned his daughter’s police badge onto her uniform during her swearing-in ceremony in August of 2018, the Pioneer Review reported.
“We are extremely proud of Natalie and all her accomplishments at such a young age,” he said at the time, according to The Sacramento Bee. “She is very excited to be a police officer and is very dedicated to the profession of law enforcement.”
In October of 2016, Officer Corona posted a photo of herself on Facebook wearing a bold blue dress holding a blue line flag in the air behind her.
“I would like this photograph to serve as my gratitude for all those law enforcement men and women who have served, who are currently serving, and those who have died in the line of duty protecting our liberties in this great country,” she wrote.
She was also featured on the Davis Police Department’s Facebook page in December, when she was photographed carrying a “Happy Holidays” bag filled with items for a Paradise fire victim.
“Last week, DPD Officers were called out to the new home of a Paradise fire victim who had lost everything. Officers were able to assist the new Davis resident,” the post read.
“Today, the same officer quietly returned to the residence with a gift of necessary items the fire victim didn’t have access to,” the agency explained. “We are always proud of the work our officers do, but have a little extra pride today.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Corona, your life mattered.