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.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.