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Jan. 11, 2019, 3:51 PM GMT
By David K. Li
A young California police officer was shot to death while responding to a traffic accident and her killer was found dead from a self-inflicted wound hours later, authorities said Friday.
Natalie Corona, 22, had only been on the job for a few weeks in Davis, California, when she was called to a three-car crash at 6:45 p.m PT (9:45 p.m. ET) on Thursday, police said.
Corona was the first officer to arrive at the scene when she was shot, officials said. She was rushed to UC Davis Medical Center in nearby Sacramento, where she died.
Police later surrounded a house one block away from the shooting scene where they found the suspect, who had killed himself, authorities said.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the shooter was in the traffic accident or what the motive was.
“She responded to a traffic collision and it was there that a person walked up and shots were fired,” Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said.
Corona started working for the Davis Police Department in 2016 in community services, eventually going to the academy and graduating this past July, officials said. She completed her training just before Christmas and became a full-time officer.
“I can tell you that I have never seen anyone work harder in a part-time capacity and more motivated to be police officer than Natalie,” Pytel said.
“She’s just absolutely a star in the department — somebody that pretty much everyone in the department really looked to as a close friend, a sister. I’ve heard officers describe her as our daughter, our friend, and just the sister we all wanted.”
Corona’s dad was a veteran of the nearby Colusa County Sheriff’s Department. Proud father Merced Corona pinned a badge on his daughter at academy graduation, the Williams Pioneer Review newspaper reported.
Corona is the first Davis police officer killed in the line of duty since 1959, the department said. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department will take over the investigation, Pytel announced.
Corona is the second, 22-year-old female police officer killed this week.
Officer Chateri Payne was shot to death at a home in Shreveport, Louisiana, on Wednesday, police said. Her killer was not immediately captured.