He said as terrified bystanders ran, he saw the shooter calmly walk away before he lost sight of him in the crowd.
The suspect later was found dead, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Davis police confirmed.
During her swearing-in ceremony, Merced Corona pinned a badge on his smiling daughter's uniform and was quoted as saying that Natalie is excited to join the force and is dedicated to the profession.
Espindola met Corona while they were working at the Colusa Casino and remained friends when Corona went to the police academy.
"This is a community that's not really used to that", he said. Her father, Merced Corona, is a current Colusa County Supervisor.
Corona wore her love for the police on her sleeve, as evidenced by her Facebook profile picture showing her posing in a floor-length blue gown while holding an American flag with a blue line honoring law enforcement.
On Jan. 5, a police officer in Utah was shot dead while trying to arrest a unsafe fugitive. "That's when I heard the shots", Pascual told the news outlet, adding that the bullets rang out so close to him that he was suffering from hearing loss Friday morning.
His motive remains unknown, and Pytel said he did not know whether the outside investigators who are leading the homicide investigation have obtained information that would explain his assault on an officer.
He says he didn't believe the shots came from someone in one of the crashed cars.
Lyssa Nicole, who trained Corona at the police academy, said the officer loved helping and protecting people.
He said that he ducked and when he looked up, Corona was on the ground and the shooter was "shooting at what looked like random people to me".
A Northern California rookie policewoman who was shot and killed is being remembered as "the cop that any community would want". "Main lesson taught was to never lose sight of who you are and where you come from", she wrote.
Corona had been wearing a body-worn camera at the time of the shooting, but it was unclear whether she had activated it, and Pytel said department policy would not have required it at a routine, minimal-injury traffic collision.
As a show of support, there is a growing memorial outside police headquarters with flowers and notes of condolences.
Inside the department, Corona's co-workers spent the day sharing their memories of her.
Corona was taken to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where she later died. Police have not named the suspect, who was found in a house near the shooting, nor determined what prompted the shooting.
"Jennifer and I are terribly saddened to learn of the death of Officer Corona", the governor's statement said.
Corona, who followed in the footsteps of her father to become an officer, graduated from the police academy in July and was sworn in as an officer two weeks ago.
Her death follows the killing of a central California officer on December 26 during a traffic stop.
On Friday, her father and a stunned community mourned the 22-year-old who was shot and killed on duty while responding to a multi-vehicle crash in the small college town of Davis, California.
The shooting happened on a street lined with mature trees and bordered by churches on both sides.
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