Surrounded by photos of his daughter with her signature bright smile, Merced Corona says she never wanted anything else but to be a police officer.
Ever since Natalie Corona was a little girl she aimed to be like her dad who spent 26 years as a Colusa County sheriff’s deputy. He was there to pin on daughter's badge as she was sworn in as an officer.
Merced Corona said that was one of his proudest moments.
"I just want her to know we’re going to miss her a lot. The whole family is going to miss her a lot and we are very proud of her," Corona told NBC Bay Area in an interview, just one day after the 22-year-old was shot and killed as she responded to a traffic accident in Davis.
"I’m not angry I don’t think any of us are angry. We want some answers, some basic of what happened but we’re not angry people," Corona said at the family's home in Arbuckle, a small California town northwest of Sacramento where everyone knows one another.
"People are going to pay the ultimate price sometimes for protecting us and keeping us safe. And she signed up to do that," he said.
Natalie Corona dreamed of being a police officer just like her father.
She first joined the Davis Police Department in 2016 as a part-time community service officer, graduated from the Sacramento Police Department Academy over the summer then completed a six-month field training just before Christmas.
"I couldn’t get her to talk about anything else but law enforcement," Corona said. "Every chance she got she’d go on a ride along with me."
Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said Corona was a "rising star" in her department and that he had never seen anybody work harder in a part-time capacity and be more motivated to become an officer than her.
"She's just absolutely a star in the department and somebody that pretty much every department looked to as a close friend, a sister," Pytel said at a news conference.
Pytel added that she had "been out on her own for just a couple of weeks" before the shooting. The man who gunned down Officer Corona later killed himself in a house, but police still don't know the motive for the attack, Pytel said Friday.
Corona is survived by her father, her mother, Lupe Corona, and her sister, Jackie Corona. Her father says that the community's support coupled with their faith will pull them through.
"She left a lot of memories. She’s going to leave us a lot of memories," Corona said.