Davis, CA – A witness to the murder of Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona on Thursday night said that the gunman killed the young officer and then began shooting at random people as he ran away.
“When I looked up and I saw the officer on the ground he was already walking due west toward C Street, like just shooting at what looked like random people to me,” Christian Pascual told The Modesto Bee.
Pascual, a 25-year-old graduate student, was the driver of one of the three vehicles involved in the crash that Officer Corona was responding to just after 7 p.m. on Jan. 10 when she was murdered.
He said he got out of his vehicle after the wreck and was exchanging information with the drivers of the other two vehicles when Officer Corona arrived on the scene.
“I gave her my license and she was just about to give it to me,” Pascual told The Modesto Bee. “That’s when I heard the shots.”
The gunman was directly behind Pascual when he opened fire on Officer Corona, he said.
“The person was behind me and all of a sudden I heard gunshots,” Pascual said.
The shooter fired at the officer over his right shoulder, so close to his ear that Pascual had some hearing loss from the gunshot on Friday morning, according to The Modesto Bee.
He said he instinctively ducked when the gunfire began.
“I just knew that I had to get out of there once I saw the gun and what was happening,” he said. “I count myself pretty lucky that he didn’t think of me.”
Pascual said that after Officer Corona was shot, he ran down D Street and hid in some bushes until more police arrived, The Modesto Bee reported.
Police soon tracked the suspect to a residence in the 500-block of Fifth Street – approximately a block away from the murder scene, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Over the course of several hours, they attempted to coax the gunman to surrender using a loudspeaker and floodlights.
They eventually deployed a robot into the home, and set off flash bang grenades.
“The shooter had been found, deceased, inside a home near 5th and E St in Davis with what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the Davis Police Department tweeted at 1:28 a.m. on Friday.
Police have not yet released the gunman’s identity, and Davis Police Lieutenant Paul Doroshov said they were waiting for confirmation from the coroner’s office before releasing a name.
The investigation has been turned over to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Lt. Doroshov said.
Officer Corona was 22 years old and had completed her field training only two weeks before she was murdered in the line of duty.