The New York City Police Department is mourning the deaths of two 22-year-old female rookie police officers who were fatally shot in the last two days in California and Louisiana.
Newly minted Sacramento police officer Natalie Corona, who’d just finished her field training right before Christmas, was shot and killed Thursday night when she responded alone to a routine three-car accident in the small college town of Davis, local police said. The shooter later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after an hours-long standoff with police at a nearby home, authorities said.
On Wednesday night in Shreveport, Louisiana, Officer Chateri Payne, who’d just graduated from the police academy Nov. 16, was shot and killed while she was leaving her home in uniform en route to her night tour.
Various NYPD Twitter accounts, including that of NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, tweeted about both of the deaths.
“PO Natalie Corona of @cityofdavispd responded to a vehicle collision last night, & was senselessly murdered. Cowardly suspect later found dead of self-inflicted gunshot wound. Natalie graduated the academy in July. She was just 22. Her #NYPD brothers & sisters will #NeverForget,” O’Neill wrote Friday morning.
The NYPD’s 10th Precinct tweeted about Payne’s death and offered prayers to her grieving family and friends.
“Officer Chateri Payne wanted ‘to protect those who can’t protect themselves.’ On 1/9/19, she was shot as she was getting into her patrol car to begin her shift. She was a rookie & a mom, literally on her way to serve her city,” the tweet read.
Both of the women were devoted to law enforcement and joined their respective police departments in efforts to improve their communities.
“She was a rising star in the department,” Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said of Corona in a late Thursday news conference, a few hours after the woman died. “She just worked like you can’t believe.”
In a 2016 Facebook post, Corona posted a photo of herself in a blue dress with a “Thin Blue Line” police flag waving behind her — a salute to the men and women who’ve given their lives to law enforcement.
“I would like this photograph to serve as my gratitude for all those law enforcement men and women who have served, who are currently serving, and those who have died in the line of duty protecting our liberties in this great country,” she wrote.
Payne, who posted on Facebook the day she graduated from the academy how proud she was to join the Shreveport Police Department, wrote she became a cop so she could “protect those who can’t protect themselves.” She was killed after not even two months on the job.
“Long Days. Aching Nights. But I decided to stand tall on my dream… The main thing is to build on who you are and to become an influential and better person for those whom may surround me or I may encounter. My personal mission is to become that positive influence,” Payne wrote, who leaves behind a young child.
“I am taking this step and becoming a better version of myself by knowing that it is always something bigger than MYSELF ☺️ It is an honor to be able to join such a powerful family with my Brothers and Sisters in Blue.”
Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond said in a news conference his department will follow “any leads” to track down “the coward or cowards” responsible for Payne’s death.
“Every life is precious and the taking of any human life is unacceptable, but when a servant who has taken an oath and committed their life to protecting others is violently taken from us, we all collectively feel the pain of that loss,” Raymond said in a grave tone.
“It has been said when a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer, it’s an entire nation. Those words solemnly read true today.”