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The Journal Gazette

  • 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)

  • Sydney Carlier, foreground, accompanied by roommates, Jenna Brouwer, center and Camille Foder, behind flag, places flowers on a memorial for slain Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in Davis, Calif. Corona, 22, who had been on the job only a few weeks, was shot and killed, Thursday, by a suspect who opened fire as she was investigating a three-car crash. The suspect was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, following a standoff with officers. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

  • Mourners place flowers on a memorial outside the Davis Police Department for slain Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in Davis, Calif. Corona, 22, who had been on the job only a few weeks was shot and killed, Thursday, by a suspect who opened fire as she was investigating a three-car crash. The suspect was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, following a standoff with officers. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

  • Davis Police closed the area near 5th and C streets in Davis, Calif., after a police officer was shot on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. A Davis police officer was shot Thursday night while responding to a traffic accident, and authorities cordoned off parts of downtown while searching for a suspect. (Jose Luis Villegas/The Sacramento Bee via AP)

  • Flowers are seen on a memorial outside the Davis Police Department for slain Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in Davis, Calif. Corona, 22, who had been on the job only a few weeks was shot and killed, Thursday, by a suspect who opened fire as she was investigating a three-car crash. The suspect was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, following a standoff with officers. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

  • Flowers are seen on a memorial outside the Davis Police Department for slain Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in Davis, Calif. Corona, 22, who had been on the job only a few weeks was shot and killed, Thursday, by a suspect who opened fire as she was investigating a three-car crash. The suspect was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, following a standoff with officers. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

  • Mary Ann Doerzbacher wipes her eyes after placing flowers on a memorial outside the Davis Police Department for slain Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in Davis, Calif. Corona, 22, who had been on the job only a few weeks was shot and killed, Thursday, by a suspect who opened fire as she was investigating a three-car crash. The suspect was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, following a standoff with officers. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

  • Authorities inspect the patrol vehicle driven by Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in Davis, Calif. Corona, 22, who had been on the job only a few weeks, was shot and killed Thursday. The suspect was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

  • Matthew Ottele draws a star on the sidewalk Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, near the scene were Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona was shot and killed in Davis, Calif. Corona, 22, who had been on the job only a few weeks was slain, Thursday, by a suspect who opened fire as she was investigating a three-car crash. The suspect was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, following a standoff with officers. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

  • Vicky Oliverius ties blue ribbons on trees, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, near the scene were Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona was shot and killed in Davis, Calif. Corona, 22, who had been on the job only a few weeks was slain, Thursday, by a suspect who opened fire as she was investigating a three-car crash. The suspect was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, following a standoff with officers. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Saturday, January 12, 2019 1:13 am

Motive for slaying of California policewoman still a mystery

By JONATHAN J. COOPER and JOCELYN GECKER Associated Press

DAVIS, Calif. (AP) Authorities say it's a mystery why a gunman on a bicycle ambushed a Northern California policewoman and narrowly missed wounding others in an apparently random shooting that ended in suicide.

The small college town of Davis is mourning 22-year-old Officer Natalie Corona, who was shot as she investigated a traffic accident Thursday night.

Police Chief Darren Pytel says the man wasn't involved in the three-car crash and opened fire from the shadows, hitting Corona in the neck and then firing more shots as she lay on the ground.

Pytel and witnesses say he then shot at a firetruck, a passing bus and a house. He later shot himself inside a nearby home.

Police say Corona was a beloved officer and the small department is devastated.

A candlelight vigil for the slain officer is planned for Saturday night.