The two rookie police officers, both 22 years old, worked in separate cities, nearly 2,000 miles apart. But their shocking deaths by gunfire this month brought their stories together before the entire nation.
On Friday, hundreds of police officers and other mourners paid tribute to Officer Natalie Corona, who was fatally shot Jan. 10 in Davis, Calif. On Saturday, following three memorial services Friday, a funeral will be held for Officer Chateri Payne, a young mother who was killed Jan. 9 in Shreveport, La.
In a packed pavilion on the campus of the University of California at Davis, police officers from around the country stood in salute to honor Corona.
She was slain as she responded to a three-car crash. Her killer, identified as Kevin Douglas Limbaugh, 48, killed himself hours later during a standoff with police. A note found by investigators at his home suggested he had a grudge against the Davis Police Department.
Officers at the funeral service wore black bands over their badges, with Corona’s badge number – 224 – emblazoned in white.
Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus performed at the service, singing "Some Gave All," about a Vietnam veteran, but dedicating the song to a young police officer that he called “a light in this world that won’t be forgotten.”
Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said he saw a bright future for the ambitious Corona.
“I had already placed a bet that one day she would be the police chief,” he said. “I knew what it takes and she had it.”
The service included a video of Corona speaking last year, when she graduated from the Sacramento police academy, the Sacramento Bee reported.
“I’m ready to hit the streets. It’s very exciting. I’m chasing a career. I’m taking after my father,” she said in the video, referring to her father Merced, who also served in law enforcement.
'That positive influence'
In November, Officer Payne wrote about her goals in an online post when she embarked on her career.
"My personal mission," she wrote, "is to become that positive influence. To Protect those who can't protect themselves & to at least try to push someone to being a better version of themselves!"
On Saturday, police in Shreveport, La., will lead a funeral procession for Payne, who was fatally shot outside her home. Her funeral will be held at a church followed by the procession and a public viewing of her body, the Shreveport Times reported.
Payne was in uniform, prepared to work that night's overnight shift, when she was shot four times. Three men – including one who was described as her boyfriend and the father of their child – were arrested.
The boyfriend, Treveon Anderson, and the two other suspects - Lawrence Pierre, 21 and Glenn Frierson, 38 - are charged with second-degree murder.
Payne graduated from the police academy in November and was a mother of four.