DAVIS — Natalie Corona was a rising star in her police department with a sparkling smile and a huge heart who had fol­lowed in her father’s foot­steps and became an of­fi­cer, fulfilling a lifelong dream just a few months ago when her dad pinned the badge on her uniform.

On Friday, her father and a stunned community mourned the 22-year-old who was shot and killed on duty while responding to a multi-vehicle crash in the small college town.

“She’s the cop that any com­munity would want,” said Lt. Paul Doroshov, a spokesman for the Davis Po­lice Department. “Ev­ery­body who met her liked her.”

The shooter opened fire as Corona was in­ves­tig­ating a three-car crash. The city is a college town that is home to the Uni­ver­sity of California, Davis. There has not been a fatal po­lice shooting there in nearly 60 years.

The suspect, who has not been identified, was later found dead inside a home with a self-inflicted gun­shot wound following a short standoff with of­fi­cers, the Davis Police De­part­ment said Friday.

Police have not de­ter­mined what prompt­ed the at­tack, which occurred in a residential neighborhood up the street from a park that hosts a weekend far­mer’s market. Residents placed flowers at a growing mem­or­ial outside the po­lice department Friday, where flags flew at half-staff.

Corona’s colleagues, fam­ily and friends mourned a vibrant life that was cut short.

“She was the best of us,” said Davis officer Mike Yu, after placing a “Blue Lives Matter” flag at the crime scene, about a mile from the police station.

As the eldest of four daugh­ters, Corona grew up dreaming of becoming a law enforcement officer like her father, said her cous­in, Emily Gomez, 26.

“I don’t remember her talk­ing about anything else than wanting to be­come an officer,” said Gomez, who said her cous­in was an athletic star in high school, excelling in vol­ley­ball, basketball and track. She grew up in a tight-knit family in the Nor­thern California town of Arbuckle. The fam­ily had emigrated from Mex­ico a few generations ago and had become es­tab­lished members of their com­munity.

Corona’s father, Jose Mer­ced Corona, spent 26 years as a Colusa County Sher­iff’s sergeant before re­tir­ing and getting elect­ed to the county’s Board of Supervisors last No­vem­ber. Her mother is a first-grade teacher, and two cousins are also in law en­force­ment, Gomez said.

Corona graduated from the Sacramento Police Acad­emy last July and com­pleted her training in December just before Christ­mas, officials said.

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