Photo Credits: SHEREEN LEE / AGGIE
Active manhunt concluded, 22-year-old police officer pronounced dead
On Thursday, Jan. 10, an officer from the City of Davis Police Department responded to a three-car collision around 6:43 p.m. in downtown Davis near Fifth and D streets. For unknown reasons, shots were fired and the officer, 22-year-old Natalie Corona, was pronounced dead after being transported to UC Davis Medical Center.
The alleged shooter was initially described as a white male with average build and was said to be wearing a black baseball cap, black jacket, blue or tan jeans and black tactical boots. A later report by the Davis PD described him as a white male with short brown hair, brown eyes, six foot two and 190 pounds with a thin build.
UC Davis was on lockdown and advised students to shelter in place. WarnMe alerts were supposedly also sent out, although many students received them much later, if even at all. Downtown streets were blocked by dozens of police cars, SWAT units and sheriff cars and were mostly empty, other than the dispatch units patrolling the area for the suspect. The active manhunt lasted for over six hours, and streets and highways were shut down. Multiple law enforcement agencies — including Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties — were involved in the search efforts, while UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Francisco police assisted the UC Davis police in patrolling the campus and escorting students back to their dorms.
All resources were allocated toward the manhunt, and as of approximately 10:08 p.m. Thursday night, it was a fluid tactical situation. The Davis PD did not give any new insight as to how the investigation was going at that time, as not to give up any possible tactical leads. Just before 1 a.m., officers surrounded a home downtown on Fifth and E streets. There was no sign of movement, and the officers found the suspect dead around 1:28 a.m. Friday morning with “what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” The name of the suspect has not been released, and the investigation is being taken over by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
A UC Davis WarnMe message was sent out at 12:21 a.m. Friday morning, lifting the shelter-in-place request and stating that the Davis PD reported that the suspect is “no longer a threat.” The lack of messages informing students at the initial time of the shooting was attributed to “an unanticipated glitch in the WarnMe system.”
Officer Corona investigated the car crash downtown was shot and rushed to the UC Davis Medical Center, where she remained in critical condition until being pronounced dead. Corona was sworn in to the Davis Police Department just two weeks prior to her death. Merced Corona, her father, was a law enforcement officer at the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office for 26 years, passing along the responsibility as he pinned his daughter’s badge on Aug. 2, 2018. According to Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel, Davis PD hasn’t lost an officer since 1959, about 60 years ago.
“I haven’t seen anybody be more motivated to be a police officer than Natalie,” Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said in a late press conference.
Mayor Brett Lee and officers from the Davis PD offered their sincerest of condolences for Corona’s family. Lieutenant Paul Doroshov, the public information officer for the City of Davis PD, spoke about the closeness of the department that consisted of approximately 61 sworn officers.
“It’s a small department — it’s a family unit in a lot of ways,” Doroshov said. “Everybody’s shocked. We’re all trying to hold it together, but it’s hard.”
Written by: Kaelyn Tuermer-Lee — firstname.lastname@example.org