A 22-year-old female police officer was shot dead in California while responding to a car crash, officials said.
Natalie Corona of the Davis Police Department was shot by one of the people involved in a three-car crash on Jan. 10 in downtown Davis, blocks away from the University of California, Davis campus.
“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,” Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said at a press conference, reported the Sacramento Bee.
“She just worked like you can’t believe. We’re just absolutely devastated about the loss,” he said.
“Our deepest condolences go out to Natalie Corona’s family, friends and fellow officers,” added the university in a statement.
Police officials said that the suspect was located at his home in Davis and eventually committed suicide.
#BREAKING: Picture of fallen #Davis police officer, Natalie Corona, taken during her August swearing-in ceremony by the @colusanewspaper. The 22 y/o was shot & killed Thursday while responding to a car crash. The suspect remains at large. pic.twitter.com/6maedjYIAJ
— Heather Holmes (@HeatherKTVU) January 11, 2019
“The shooter has been found inside a home … with what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the department said in a statement.
The man was described earlier as a white male in his 20s with an average build. He was wearing a baseball cap, black jacket, blue or tan jeans, and black tactical boots.
Corona’s father was a law enforcement officer and pinned the badge on his daughter’s uniform at her swearing-in ceremony in August.
“We are extremely proud of Natalie and all her accomplishments at such a young age,” Merced Corona, Natalie Corona’s father, told the Williams Pioneer-Review. “She is very excited to be a police officer and is very dedicated to the profession of law enforcement.”
Pytel said at the press conference that the Davis Police Department ran out of funding for a paid position that Corona had been in before she entered the academy. She still showed up to work, he noted, as a volunteer.
In October 2016, Corona posted a picture on Facebook. She was wearing a blue dress, standing on a road, and holding a fluttering American flag.
“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.
I would like this photograph to serve as my gratitude for all those law enforcement men and women who have served, who…
Law Enforcement Fatalities
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there were 144 law enforcement officer fatalities in 2018. The fallen officers had an average age of 41 and 134 of them were male.
Of the deaths, 52 were firearms-related, 32 were officers killed in crashes, five officers were ambushed, and four officers were shot and killed conducting traffic stops.
California, Florida, New York, and Texas had the highest number of officer fatalities with 11 each.
“The rising number of law enforcement officer deaths in 2018 is disappointing news after a decline in 2017,” declared National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Craig Floyd said in a statement.
“Sadly this reminds us that public safety is a dangerous job and can come at a very steep price. We must never take the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers for granted, and we must remember the families of the fallen who are left behind.”
According to the fund’s preliminary statistics for the first 10 days of January, there have been four law enforcement fatalities in 2019, two were firearms-related and two were traffic-related.
One of the killings took place in Louisiana on Jan. 9. Shreveport Officer Chateri Payne was shot four times while on her way to work.
On Jan. 5, a police officer in Utah was shot dead while trying to arrest a dangerous fugitive. Officials hailed Provo officer Joseph Shinners, 29.
“Joe Shinners was intelligent, he was honorable and he was hardworking,” Provo Police Chief Richard Ferguson told reporters at a press conference. “He was decent in every single way and he exemplified the nobility of policing. He was the very best of the Provo Police Department.”