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Thousands mourn the death of rookie California officer who was fatally shot after two weeks on job

Thousands of officers paid their respects at the funeral for a fallen cop gunned down just two weeks in the job during a routine traffic stop.

A young Natalie Corona would run around the house in police gear and loved watching the show ‘Cops.’ She always knew she wanted to be a police officer, her sister told the congregation in California on Friday.

Even before Corona joined the force a few months ago, she posted a Facebook tribute to the men and women who serve and who have died in the line of duty.  

Family members, friends and thousands of officers from across the country packed into a memorial service to honor the 22-year-old. 

Uniformed officers, hats in their white-gloved hands, filled about 8,000 seats at an indoor arena at the University of California, Davis, and overflowed into the aisles.

During a 90-minute service, a slideshow of family photos and Corona’s brief professional life played on giant screens.

It ended with the image from her 2016 Facebook tribute to law enforcement.

The picture showed Corona beaming and wearing a floor-length blue gown as she held a ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag that shows support for officers.

‘Little did she know that she and this picture would touch so many lives around the world,’ her father, Merced Corona, said.

 

Lupe Corona and Merced Corona kiss the flag draped coffin of their daughter, Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, during funeral services for Natalie Corona at the University of California, Davis on Friday

Lupe Corona, left, listens as Merced Corona speaks during funeral services for their daughter, Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, at the University of California, Davis on Friday

Lupe Corona, left, listens as Merced Corona speaks during funeral services for their daughter, Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, at the University of California, Davis on Friday

Uniformed officers, hats in their white-gloved hands, filled about 8,000 seats at an indoor arena at the University of California, Davis, and overflowed into the aisles on Friday

Uniformed officers, hats in their white-gloved hands, filled about 8,000 seats at an indoor arena at the University of California, Davis, and overflowed into the aisles on Friday

Thousands turned out from across the country to Davis, California on Friday to mourn the death of rookie officer Natalie Corona, 22, who died in the line of duty on January 10, two weeks into the job. Corona is shown in a 2016 Facebook tribute to law enforcement

Thousands turned out from across the country to Davis, California on Friday to mourn the death of rookie officer Natalie Corona, 22, who died in the line of duty on January 10, two weeks into the job. Corona is shown in a 2016 Facebook tribute to law enforcement

Merced and Lupe Corona, both parents of the slain officer, were pictured together kissing their daughter’s coffin at Friday’s service.

He shared a story of a touching moment he shared with his little girl, after she had graduated from training. 

‘One of my proudest moments after pinning her badge was when she asked me, “Pop, can I now call you brother cop?” And after telling her no for so long, I finally told her, “Yes, Nat, you can now call me brother cop,”‘ Corona’s father said. 

During a 90-minute service, a slideshow of family photos and Corona's brief professional life played on giant screens. 

During a 90-minute service, a slideshow of family photos and Corona’s brief professional life played on giant screens. 

Family members follow the flag draped coffin of Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona before funeral services for Corona at the University of California, Davis on Friday

Family members follow the flag draped coffin of Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona before funeral services for Corona at the University of California, Davis on Friday

Officers from as far as New York, Chicago and Boston came to honor the young policewoman killed last week in the Northern California college town 

Officers from as far as New York, Chicago and Boston came to honor the young policewoman killed last week in the Northern California college town 

Officers lined walkways on the campus and saluted as family members followed Corona's casket into arena. 

Officers lined walkways on the campus and saluted as family members followed Corona’s casket into arena. 

He added that he had tried to get his daughter ‘Nat’ to join the county force where he had worked but she told him she had ‘found the perfect department in the perfect city.’

‘She was so proud to be part of the law enforcement brotherhood,’ Merced Corona said. ‘Today we lay to rest our beloved sister cop.’

Officers from as far as New York, Chicago and Boston came to honor the young policewoman killed last week in the Northern California college town.

Officers bring in the flag draped coffin of Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona during funeral services for Corona at the University of California, Davis on Friday

Officers bring in the flag draped coffin of Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona during funeral services for Corona at the University of California, Davis on Friday

Officers salute during funeral services for Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona at the University of California, Davis on Friday

Officers salute during funeral services for Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona at the University of California, Davis on Friday

Corona’s slaying has shocked Davis, which prides itself on being a safe, family-friendly community anchored by one of the state’s top universities. 

The last time a police officer died in the line of duty in Davis was in 1959.

Officers lined walkways on the campus and saluted as family members followed Corona’s casket into arena.

'It was truly in her blood,' Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said. 'I placed a bet that one day she'd be the police chief. I know what it takes, and she had it'

‘It was truly in her blood,’ Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said. ‘I placed a bet that one day she’d be the police chief. I know what it takes, and she had it’

Colleagues recalled Corona’s vibrant smile, her enthusiasm, compassion, dedication and a lifelong dream she had of joining law enforcement like her father, who spent 26 years as a Colusa County sheriff’s deputy.

‘It was truly in her blood,’ Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said. ‘I placed a bet that one day she’d be the police chief. I know what it takes, and she had it.’

Looking to her parents in the front row, Pytel said they had raised ‘an incredible daughter.’ 

He apologized to Merced and Lupe Corona for the shooting that ended her life on January 10.

‘You delivered to us the perfect cop. Our commitment to you was to get her home,’ the police chief said. ‘I’m so sorry that we didn’t get her back home to you.’

A funeral procession then took the casket from Davis to the town of Arbuckle about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north, where the Corona family lives 

A funeral procession then took the casket from Davis to the town of Arbuckle about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north, where the Corona family lives 

Corona graduated from the Sacramento Police Academy in July and completed her field training in December. She was assigned to patrol on her own just weeks ago.

On the evening of January 10, there was no apparent danger when Corona responded solo to a three-car crash in downtown Davis, near the university. 

But as Corona talked to the drivers, gunfire erupted.

Police say Kevin Douglas Limbaugh, 48, was not involved in the crash but rode up on a bicycle and opened fire on Corona without warning. 

He hit her in the neck and fired more shots as she lay on the ground, reloading at least twice as he shot at passing vehicles, narrowly avoiding wounding others before he walked home.

Limbaugh dropped a backpack that allowed officers to trace him to his house, where he had a brief standoff with police, went back inside and killed himself, authorities said.

Police found two unregistered semiautomatic handguns and a handwritten note on the bed that claimed police had been bombarding him for years with ultrasonic waves and he ‘can’t live this way anymore.’

‘We know who committed this atrocity, but we may never know why,’ Pytel said. ‘So far we have nothing to really explain it.’

In a surprise appearance, musician Billy Ray Cyrus strummed his guitar and sang a song he wrote for soldiers of the Vietnam War, saying ‘the smile of this beautiful young lady touched my heart.’

The eldest of four girls, Corona was a role model, her sister Jackie (center) said. 'Ever since we were little, we knew Nat would become a police officer one day,' Jackie said, recounting how her sister would 'run around the house in police gear' and would watch 'Cops'

The eldest of four girls, Corona was a role model, her sister Jackie (center) said. ‘Ever since we were little, we knew Nat would become a police officer one day,’ Jackie said, recounting how her sister would ‘run around the house in police gear’ and would watch ‘Cops’

The eldest of four girls, Corona was a role model, her sister Jackie said.

‘Ever since we were little, we knew Nat would become a police officer one day,’ Jackie said, recounting how her sister would ‘run around the house in police gear’ and would watch ‘Cops.’

Sharing some favorite memories, Jackie said Corona loved to dance, even though she lacked rhythm, and was a perfectionist who didn’t tolerate a wrinkled bedsheet.

‘She wanted everything to be perfect, including herself. And boy, in our eyes, was she,’ Jackie said, flanked by her two other sisters, Cathy and Cindy.

After the memorial service, bagpipes played as police pallbearers carried Corona’s casket to a white hearse on a road lined with saluting officers. 

A funeral procession then took the casket from Davis to the town of Arbuckle about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north, where the Corona family lives.

Merced Corona, father of Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, right, and family members listen to speakers during funeral services for Natalie Corona at the University of California, Davis on Friday

Merced Corona, father of Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona, right, and family members listen to speakers during funeral services for Natalie Corona at the University of California, Davis on Friday

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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