Photo Credits: CAITLYN SAMPLEY / AGGIE
Students provided rides, shelter, communication on social media
After a shooter killed 22-year-old police officer Natalie Corona in downtown Davis last Thursday, our tight-knit community was faced head-on with the realities and dangers of gun violence. Each time news breaks about another shooting, the same thoughts come to mind: why so often, how can this be prevented, something has to change. But when tragedy strikes in your own backyard, the questions become more personal and the outcomes more painful: what if, why here, why not me?
Corona was the same age as many UC Davis students, and was sworn into the police force just two weeks before her death. The shooter, Kevin Douglas Limbaugh, lived only four blocks from campus and had two semiautomatic pistols in his possession. While Davis has the reputation of being a sheltered college town, Thursday’s incident proves that no one is exempt from a narrative that has become all too familiar in the United States.
Limbaugh, a 48-year-old Davis resident, was prohibited from owning firearms after being convicted of battery for punching a coworker in September. At the time, Limbaugh was ordered to surrender any weapons that he owned to the police. While Limbaugh did turn in a rifle after the battery conviction, he obtained at least two semiautomatic weapons in the last two months, according to the Sacramento Bee.
It’s nauseating to think that a person with a criminal record, deemed unfit to own firearms, would have access to weapons of any kind, let alone a semiautomatic handgun. It’s even more unsettling to discover that the person lives just steps away from your home, school or place of work. Perhaps the worst part of all, though, is knowing that policymakers in Washington can’t even keep the government open, let alone make progress on gun control.
While last Thursday’s shooting brings up feelings of fear, grief and anger on both a personal and a national level, it’s also important to recognize acts of resilience and camaraderie exemplified by our student body while the shooter was at large and people were on lockdown. Following the shooting, police spent nearly six hours trying to locate Limbaugh, who fled the scene where Corona was killed. During that time, downtown Davis was in an active shooter situation.
Although some students didn’t receive a campus alert due to a technological glitch, community members used social media as a tool to spread the word and protect each other’s safety. A Facebook post by UC Davis warning of the shooter had over 1,200 shares and a similar post by The California Aggie had 562 shares. Further, there were many stories of students offering rides home to strangers and hosting friends overnight to avoid traveling through town. Clubs and organizations also issued emergency check-ins for their members to make sure that students were accounted for and in a safe place.
When it feels like we fear for our safety more often than ever before, it’s comforting to know that members of the campus community are ready and willing to take care of each other. The Editorial Board thanks those who went out of their way to share safety notices, check in with friends and protect each other last Thursday, likely helping to prevent additional harm or injury in the wake of an already tragic shooting.
Written by: The Editorial Board