Witness says slain Calif. officer shot by bystander
A 22- year- old police officer shot to death Thursday night apparently was ambushed by a gunman as she was sorting out the after- effects of a minor, three- car collision in this quiet Northern California college town.
Natalie Corona, who received her badge with the Davis Police Department in August and was certified just before Christmas to go on patrol without a partner, died after being shot by an assailant who walked up to her and opened fire just before 7 p. m., then began walking along a downtown street randomly firing at pedestrians, according to an eyewitness.
The gunman was later found dead inside a home where he apparently shot himself after officers surrounded the house not far from the University of California, Davis, campus, police said.
By mid- afternoon Friday, authorities in the town 15 miles west of Sacramento said they had identified the gunman but were not ready to disclose his name.
Christian Pascual, 25, a UC Davis graduate, witnessed the shooting and said the incident began as he was driving and another vehicle hit his car, then drove it into a third car.
The motorists got out of their vehicles to exchange information and Corona arrived minutes later and began talking to the drivers.
“I gave her my license and she was just about to give it to me,” Pascual said. “That’s when I heard the shots.”
He said the shots came from directly behind him, with the gunman firing over his right shoulder so close to his ear that he was suffering from hearing loss Friday morning.
“The person was behind me and all of a sudden I heard gunshots,” he said.
Pascual said he instinctively ducked down.
“When I looked up and I saw the officer on the ground he was already walking due west, like just shooting at what looked like random people to me,” Pascual said, adding that he ran down the street and hid in bushes for safety.
Another witness told police that she had been walking about 15 feet from the shooter when she saw him open fire.