By Stephen Sorace
Published January 11, 2019
A police officer in Davis, Calif., was fatally shot Thursday night while responding to a traffic accident, prompting a massive manhunt for the gunman, who later killed himself, authorities said.
Officer Natalie Corona, 22, was pronounced dead at UC Davis Medical Center. She was the second female police officer shot to death in a two-day span, and, though the incidents aren't connected, the killer's motive remains a mystery in both. Corona was shot after responding to a three-car crash around 6:45 p.m.
Davis Police confirmed early Friday morning that the shooter was found dead inside a home near the scene with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Corona, who began as a community service officer in 2016, had graduated from the police academy in July. She had just completed her field training before Christmas and had been out on her own for a couple of weeks, Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said at a news conference.
"She was a rising star in the department," Pytel said. “She just worked like you can’t believe.”
Firefighters performed life-saving measures at the scene and Corona was rushed to a nearby hospital, Pytel said. It was unclear whether she was targeted or caught up in a crossfire.
The ongoing investigation was turned over to the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.
The suspect was described as a white male in his 20s with an average build, FOX40 Sacramento reported. He was reportedly wearing a baseball hat, black jacket, blue or tan jeans and black tactical boots.
Police earlier issued a "shelter in place" order and asked residents to stay away from the downtown Davis area as they searched for the suspect, FOX40 reported. The order was lifted shortly before midnight local time.
Corona is survived by her parents. She is the first Davis police officer killed in the line of duty since 1959, Pytel said.
Corona's death came on the heels of a Louisiana cop's murder on Wednesday night. Shreveport police officer Chateri Payne was on her way to work a late-night shift when someone shot her at least four times, including once in the head. At least one person was detained for questioning in Payne's killing, though it was unclear if that person was a suspect, The Shreveport Times reported.