A Winters Police Department vehicle is seen near a command post following the shooting of a Davis police officer on January 10, 2019. Photo by Matthew Keys/Winters Express[/caption]
AmbushedPolice released more details at a press briefing on Friday about the incident that claimed the life of Ofc. Corona less than 24 hours earlier. Corona was dispatched to what seemed like a routine traffic accident involving at least three cars, Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said. While coordinating information with one of the drivers in the crash, a bicyclist reportedly opened fire on the scene, striking Corona once. The officer fell to the ground, after which the bystander fired several more rounds at the officer, Chief Pytel said. Corona was rushed to the U.C. Davis Medical Center where she died from her injuries. She was wearing a body camera, police said, but it was not clear if the camera was recording. A camera inside her patrol car was recording, and police said they are still in the process of trying to upload the video. On Saturday, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department formally identified the shooting suspect as Kevin Douglas Limbaugh, 48, of Davis. The release came one hour after the Davis Enterprise and Sacramento Bee newspapers independent confirmed the suspect’s name through unidentified sources. https://twitter.com/WintersExpress/status/1084214683169505280 Limbaugh was said to have lived a quiet life in Davis until last year when prosecutors filed a felony assault charge against the man following a scuffle at Cache Creek Casino Resort where both men worked, the Enterprise reported. The victim in the scuffle was treated at Woodland Memorial Hospital. Prosecutors reduced the charge to a misdemeanor as part of a plea agreement reached with Limbaugh that, among other things, required him to hand over a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle. Limbaugh’s attorney from the Yolo County Public Defender’s Office told Enterprise reporter Lauren Keene on Saturday that there were “no red flags and what happened [on Thursday] was totally unexpected.” “We offer our sincerest condolences to Ofc. Corona’s family, friends and colleagues,” the attorney said. What caused Limbaugh to allegedly escalate things to the point of murdering a local police officer is unclear; Davis Police said the motive in the case remains unknown, but Pytel told reporters on Friday that the incident “looks like an ambush” and that investigators were “speculating that she never saw [Limbaugh].” At the shooting scene, Limbaugh allegedly fired several more rounds, including in the direction of firefighters who were responding to the scene from a nearby firehouse. Police said one round struck a firefighter in the boot; the firefighter was not injured. [caption id="attachment_765719" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Police surround a home near downtown Davis where a man suspected of fatally shooting a police officer was located. Photo by Matthew Keys/Winters express[/caption] Police said Limbaugh fled to a home he shared with a roommate less than a few blocks away from the scene of the shooting. Officers from various law enforcement agencies eventually surrounded the home at 501 E Street, where they shouted commands for the suspect to surrender. At one point, Limbaugh did emerge from the home. He was wearing a bulletproof vest, police said. An Enterprise reporter on the scene tweeted the suspect also pointed a gun to his head. Limbaugh went back into the home where officers say he pushed a couch against the door before fatally shooting himself. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department has taken the lead on the shooting that claimed the life of the officer, while Davis police are investigating Limbaugh’s suicide. [caption id="attachment_765743" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Davis Police Department Officer Natalie Corona appears in an undated photography. Photo courtesy Richard Lau Photography/Special to the Express[/caption]
A community mournsBraving cold, rainy weather on Friday, members of the community established two makeshift memorials for a fallen officer whose time as a public safety officer was cut drastically short. At the Davis Police Department’s headquarters on Fifth Street, Chico residents Isabel Espindola and Yadi Flores remembered their long-time friend and former co-worker as a kind, happy person who was eager to serve her community. “She was so excited to start the police academy,” Espindola said. “She always told us how excited she was and how she wanted to just get out there and start her job. And I loved her for it. She was so determined and hard-working.” “There was not a day when you wouldn’t see a smile,” Flores said. “She was such a beautiful person inside and out. I can’t believe she’s gone. It still hasn’t set in yet.” In an interview with the Express, Davis Police Lt. Doroshov said Corona was “the type of cop every town would want, and we were really lucky to have her.” “It’s devastating,” Doroshov said. “We’re not a large law enforcement community, so when this happens, it’s not just us. It touches everybody.” [caption id="attachment_765739" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Yadi Flores (left) and Isabel Espindola (right) mourn the loss of their friend, Ofc. Natalie Coroner, at a memorial outside the Davis Police Department on January 11, 2019. Photo by Matthew Keys/Winters Express[/caption] On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom released a statement saying Corona died protecting her community. “Officer Corona was protecting her community from harm when she was tragically shot by an armed subject,” Newsom said in a press release. “Despite the valiant efforts of paramedics who rushed her to the hospital, and UC Davis Medical Center personnel, she succumbed to her injuries. We join all Californians in mourning the loss of this courageous officer and extend our deepest condolences to Officer Corona’s family, friends, and coworkers.” Speaking to reporters on Friday, Sen. Bill Dodd (D., Napa) said he was in the process of speaking with the Chief of Police, Davis city manager and other town officials in order to get more information about what happened Thursday evening. “It’s tough for this community,” Dodd said. “It’s the last thing you’d expect, so we’re just going to try to make some sense of it.” https://twitter.com/WintersExpress/status/1083924785640333312
Tragic TrendThe fatal shooting of Ofc. Corona is the latest involving police officers killed in the line of duty in California. Last December, Newman Police Ofc. Ronil Singh was fatally shot while conducting a traffic stop in Stanislaus County. The suspect was captured several days later; the case made national headlines after law enforcement officials said the shooting suspect had entered into the country illegally from Mexico. The previous month, Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Helus suffered a fatal gunshot injury while responding to a dispatch of a shooting spree at a bar in Thousand Oaks. Investigators would later determine that Helus was shot several times by 28-year-old David Ian Long, the suspect in the case, but that the bullet that killed Helus was fired by a California Highway Patrol officer who was also on the scene. In August, a Rocklin man was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter after he allegedly crashed into a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer near Fairfield. That officer, Sgt. Kirk Griess, died from his injuries, as did another man at the scene. The suspect, Sean Walker, has entered a plea of not guilty and is awaiting trial.
A memorial fund has been established to assist the family of Ofc. Natalie Corona. Checks can be mailed or dropped off at the Davis Police Department’s headquarters at 2600 Fifth Street; checks should be made out to “the Natalie Corona Memorial Fund.” A formal memorial has been scheduled for Friday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. inside the U.C. Davis Activities and Recreation Center (U.C. Davis A.R.C.). Members of the public are invited to attend.
Lauren Keene, Anne Ternus-Bellamy and Tanya Perez from Express sister-publication the Davis Enterprise contributed to this report.]]>