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Gunned down on her beat: Officer Natalie Corona mourned as suspect found dead in California home

Hannah Darden, Benjy Egel and Sam Stanton, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in News & Features

DAVIS, Calif. -- The call came into Davis police just before 7 p.m. Thursday, a three-car accident near 5th and D streets that by any measure would be considered routine.

Officer Natalie Corona, 22, who graduated from the Sacramento Police Department's training academy in July and completed her field training just before Christmas, responded to the scene alone.

Corona, whose father spent 26 years as a Colusa County Sheriff's deputy, was an eager rookie officer, a young woman who started with the department in 2016 as a community service officer and who stayed on the job even when funding for her position ran out.

She posted tributes on her Facebook page to fellow officers, including those who died in the line of duty.

Thursday night, she became one of the fallen when a suspect at the accident scene opened fire and gunned her down, sparking a nightlong siege in this quiet college town that lasted into Friday morning.

"She was a rising star in the department," Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said in a somber news conference just before midnight. "She just worked like you can't believe."

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Officers from throughout the region and the Bay Area swarmed into Davis following the shooting, forcing shelter-in-place warnings for UC Davis students and prompting a flurry of text, phone and email alerts to the community.

Corona was rushed to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where she was pronounced dead late Thursday, while officers surrounded a home a block away from the shooting scene where they believed the suspect might be hiding.

Police spent hours trying to coax the suspect out, using floodlights and commands on loudspeakers for him to emerge with his hands up. At one point they sent in a robot and ignited flash bang grenades.

By 1:30 a.m. Friday, police finally announced what they found inside the rental home in the 500 block of Fifth Street.


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