Gun­man kills Davis po­lice of­fi­cer, then him­self

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Rong-Gong Lin Ii and Laura New­berry

A rookie 22-year-old po­lice of­fi­cer who had just com­pleted field train­ing be­fore Christ­mas was fa­tally shot while she re­sponded to a car crash in down­town Davis, the city’s po­lice chief said.

The sus­pected gun­man was found dead in­side a home about a block away from the shoot­ing, po­lice said in a state­ment at around 1:30 a.m. Fri­day, “with what ap­pears to be a self­in­flicted gun­shot wound.”

Davis Po­lice Of­fi­cer Natalie Corona was re­spond­ing to a crash in­volv­ing three ve­hi­cles at 5th and D streets around 6:45 p.m. Thurs­day when gun­shots were fired and she was hit, Po­lice Chief Dar­ren Py­tel told re­porters at a tele­vised news con­fer­ence after mid­night.

Corona was the only of­fi­cer at the scene, less than a block from the city’s main fire sta­tion. She was rushed by fire­fight­ers to UC Davis Med­i­cal Cen­ter but “they weren’t able to save her,” Py­tel said.

The search for the gun­man was fo­cused about a block away from the shoot­ing, around 5th and E streets. The sus­pect was de­scribed as a man in his 20s with an av­er­age build, wear­ing a base­ball cap, black jacket and black tac­ti­cal boots, po­lice said.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear if the gun­man had been in­volved in the crash or had walked up to the scene be­fore shoot­ing the of­fi­cer, Py­tel said.

“We’re just ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated,” Py­tel said. The last time a po­lice of­fi­cer died in the line of duty in Davis, a city of 69,000 peo­ple a 5-mile drive west of Sacra­mento, was in 1959.

Py­tel said Corona started her ca­reer in the po­lice de­part­ment as a part-time em­ployee and vol­un­teer. She was a hard worker, Py­tel said, and was so en­thu­si­as­tic about her job that when the de­part­ment ran out of fund­ing for her po­si­tion, she came in any­way as a full-time vol­un­teer un­til she went into the academy.

“Natalie was just full of life and full of en­ergy and just an ab­so­lute plea­sure to be around . ... She just worked like you can’t be­lieve,” Py­tel said, with col­leagues de­scrib­ing her as a daugh­ter, a friend “and a sis­ter we all wanted.”

Corona com­pleted train­ing at the academy in July. She com­pleted the Davis Po­lice De­part­ment’s six-month field-train­ing program just be­fore Christ­mas, and had been out on her own as an of­fi­cer for just a cou­ple of weeks.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the shoot­ing is be­ing con­ducted by the Sacra­mento County Sher­iff’s De­part­ment. Corona is sur­vived by her par­ents. The fa­tal shoot­ing comes less than a month after an­other po­lice of­fi­cer, Cpl Ronil Singh, 33, died in the line of duty, about 90 miles south of Davis in the city of New­man.

JOSE LUIS VIL­LE­GAS/SACRA­MENTO BEE

Davis po­lice pre­pare to en­ter a home where they be­lieved the sus­pect who shot and killed a Davis po­lice of­fi­cer ear­lier in the evening was hid­ing out on Thurs­day in Davis. The sus­pect was found dead in the home.

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