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March 21, 2019

Rookie police officer shot and killed responding to traffic accident in Northern California

January 11, 2019
This Aug. 2, 2018 photo provided by Williams Pioneer Review shows Merced Corona, left, pins his daughter Natalie Corona’s badge on her uniform during a swearing-in ceremony in Davis, Calif. Natalie Corona was shot and killed during a routine call Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (Williams Pioneer Review via AP)

A rookie police officer was fatally shot responding to a three-car traffic accident, sparking an intense manhunt for the gunman, who was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound early Friday morning.

Natalie Corona had only been on the job for a few weeks when she was called to the crash in Davis around 6:45 p.m. on Thursday. A suspect at the scene of the accident opened fire and struck the 22-year-old officer, who was rushed to UC Davis Medical Center, where she later died from her injuries.

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Law enforcement agencies from across the region joined together late Thursday to search for a suspect. Davis police around 1:30 a.m. confirmed that the alleged gunman died from an an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at a house about a block away from where the car accident occurred. They’d spent the hours before trying to coax him out of the residence, even goign as far to send a robot inside the detonated flash bang grenades, the Sacramento Bee reported.

It’s not clear whether the suspect was involved in the traffic incident Thursday evening and his identity has not been released.

Corona started working with the Davis Police Department in 2016 in community services but eventually went on to the police academy. She graduated in July and only just completed her training to become an full-time officer a few weeks before Christmas.

Her father, Merced Corona, was also a police officer. He served for the nearby Colusa County Sheriff’s Department and pinned a badge on his daughter at her academy graduation over the summer, according to the Williams Pioneer Review.

“She was just an absolute star in the department and somebody that pretty much everybody in the department really looked to as a close friend, a sister,” Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel told reporters during a press conference on Thursday.

“And I’ve heard her described by our officers tonight as our daughter and our friend and our sister that we all wanted. This is just an absolutely devastating loss to the police department.”

Corona is the first Davis police officer killed in the line of duty in nearly 60 years, when Officer Douglas Cantrill was gunned down in September 1959.

She’s also the second 22-year-old female police officer killed this week. Officer Chateri Payne was gunned down at a home in Shreveport Louisiana on Wednesday. Authorities are still searching for her killer.

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