Chaos Attraction

Online Funeral

2019-01-18, 6:17 p.m.

On Friday, my boss provided black ribbons for those of us who wanted to wear them. I daresay they went with my “not actually going to the funeral in person” outfit of black velvet skirt, black funeral shirt with dark blue shirt underneath and blue velvet shirt all over that.

When the funeral was livestreaming, we were all watching it in my new office, on one of my computer screens so everyone could watch and hear. I really resented anyone calling for help (or the people e-mailing me going “Can you do this right now?”) during this time, but people won’t stop here so there you go. But it was good to watch with nice people, all of whom were getting verklempt at different times, particularly when her baby photos came up. (I saw my boss watching it online herself later.) It was probably a good thing I didn’t try to go in person because it looks like the entire audience was police, even very far out of town ones, apparently.

I was going to try to write all of this up, but I think enough stuff online does it for me.

Here is the livestream of the funeral. Here is the funeral procession. That’s a lot of flashing cop lights, y’all. Here is an article on the procession.

Billy Ray Cyrus actually flew out here and sang “Some Gave All. I’ve read that he is a family friend. I’d love to know how that came about. I also read that Governor Newsom came.

Coffin procession.

Interviews with police from out of town who came to the funeral. This story said people came from New York and Boston.

Here’s her dad speaking. And her sister(s).

Article on the funeral. Since most of the best articles on the subject are limiting your viewing these days, I’m gonna copy and paste a lot.

“To know her was to know greatness,” said Eric Labbe, the Davis police sergeant who supervised Corona on the swing patrol shift. “She had a ripple effect that touched and forever changed everyone she came into contact with. If you were lucky enough to get caught in her wake, as I was, you, too, would want to be a better person.”

“She was constantly talking about being in the police field, and somehow, she would talk us into being her test subjects,” said sister Jackie Corona, flanked by her siblings Kathy and Cindy. Natalie also loved to dance and tell stories, “especially when it was about her job.”

Their father, Merced Corona, attested to that, joking that he and wife Lupe would pretend to be asleep when Natalie came home from work at night, ready to chat. But their daughter saw right through the ruse.

“ ‘I just want to tell you what happened today, real quick,’ ” Merced Corona recalled Natalie saying, as the audience laughed. “Which we really knew meant 30 to 40 minutes … before she finally turned off the light.”

Merced Corona also spoke of his family’s pride in Natalie’s achievements as well as their faith, saying that “God makes no mistakes,” no matter how senseless their loved one’s death might seem to be.

“I can assure you, God himself placed Natalie to be on duty, on that date, on that shift, at that hour, responding to that call for service … and He himself has called her into his presence,” he said.

A retired Davis assistant police chief who taught at the school saw her potential, inviting her to apply to a new Davis Police Department program that employs aspiring officers part-time and sponsors their police academy tuition. Corona became a community services officer shortly thereafter.

While CSOs typically perform different tasks within the department, Corona juggled all of them, Chief Darren Pytel said. And when she ran out of assigned duties, she’d clean up the break room, even though it wasn’t required of her.

“That’s the kind of person that she was - she took on whatever task needed to be done,” from data entry to serving as a Spanish-language interpreter at a sensitive crime scene, Pytel said.

She graduated from the Sacramento Police Department academy last June - three of its classes showed up Friday to honor her - and she completed her field training just a month before her death.

But to call her a rookie cop would be “a fallacy,” her supervisor Labbe said, noting her law-enforcement upbringing - her father was 26-year veteran of the Colusa County Sheriff’s Department - that introduced her to the life early on.

“We all knew she was ready for the streets,” he added. “She was mature far beyond her years, well-respected, and carried herself as a seasoned officer. No one ever questioned her competence.”

Speaking as if to Corona directly, Labbe assured the fallen officer that “you did nothing wrong” at that dark and foggy crash scene.

“Unfortunately, your duty bag was not equipped with a crystal ball,” Labbe said. “But even if you had possessed that crystal ball and you could have used it, you still would have beat us to that scene while telling us, ‘I’m on it. I’ve got it covered.’ ”

While Corona enjoyed the excitement of policing, it was the community connections it brought “and her role as a guardian” that were of utmost importance to her, Pytel said.

“She was driven by making others feel better,” added Pytel, who once made a bet that Corona herself would be a police chief one day. “Officer Corona could have worked anywhere, and she chose us, and to police here. We’ve lost an officer that truly embodied our policing philosophy.”

Pytel posthumously awarded Corona the Purple Heart, Medal of Distinction and the Cantrill Citation, the latter named after Douglas Cantrill, the only other Davis police officer to die in the line of duty, six decades ago. The citation, consisting of Corona’s badge, was presented to Corona’s family.

Corona’s badge number, 224, and radio call sign, X-ray 33, both will be retired.

“You delivered to us the perfect cop. Our commitment to you was to get her home. Know that we tried,” Pytel told the family. “I’m so sorry that we didn’t get her back home to you. For that, we always will be indebted to you.”

Just prior to that, a haunting dispatch recording filled the arena. It was Corona’s “end of watch” radio call, a ceremonial tradition signifying that an officer has failed to respond and has fallen in the line of duty.”

“X-ray 33 … X-ray 33 … X-ray 33 … end of watch, Jan. 10, 2019, 18:43,” it said, marking the date and military time that Corona passed away.

Another article on the funeral.

”Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said he knew exactly where Corona was headed in life.

“I had already placed a bet that one day she would be the police chief,” he said. “I knew what it takes and she had it.”

Corona herself spoke in a video that was recorded last year when she was graduating from the Sacramento police academy. Looking straight at the camera, her voice firm and energetic, she said, “I’m ready to hit the streets. It’s very exciting. I’m chasing a career. I’m taking after my father.”

Success in police work or any work, she said, comes from inside.

“It truly has to be in your heart,” she said. “You will overcome any other challenges that are thrown at you.”

Corona was known to wear a black ring with a blue line running through the center on her ring finger because she was “married to the job,” her cousin, Tessa Corona, told The Bee.

Chief Pytel attempted to offer a catharsis to a region in mourning, saying no one should feel guilty. The reason for her death is something, he said, no one may ever know.

“The simple reality, we know who committed this atrocity but we may never know why,” he said. “So far, we have nothing to explain it. This person simply made a choice. Natalie did everything right. She knew what she was doing. The reality is, we train for what is predictable. There is only one person to blame, and that is the person who decided to fire the gun.”

Speaking seemingly in part to his own department’s officers, he said, “Find positive ways to move forward, together, with renewed energy brought to us by this shining star. As you sort through emotions, don’t let guilt be one of them.”

Another article.

”A procession to Arbuckle, where Corona lived with her family, followed the service. Blue ribbons were tied around dozens of trees throughout Davis and a white tent covered dozens of bouquets that were left at the scene where Corona was killed. Residents gathered at the intersections where the procession would pass, holding American flags and signs.”

Photos of the funeral. Note the broken heart one, that’s my favorite flower arrangement there.

Interview with Police Chief Pytel.

“Natalie went out of her way to make personal connections with everyone here. Everyone’s just going through the different stages of grieving, at this point.

We had kind of forgotten about the janitors a couple days ago. After they found out about Natalie, they just broke down in tears because Natalie is a Spanish-speaker and they spoke Spanish. She was one of the few in the building who regularly communicated with them and had just made this close connection.

Literally, Natalie is just the kind of person to just talk to people and be comforting and really was a delight to be around.

If you go to the front lobby, you’ll see an outpouring of support from all over. From the community and other law enforcement agencies. There are flower bouquets literally all over the police department. The support’s been tremendous. I will say it’s helped.”

This video shows all the flowers in the PD, and letters people wrote.

My View: Why Natalie Corona Was the Answer to What We Need

Gym holds workouts in her honor.

“The ASUCD Senate announced Thursday evening that it will conduct a special meeting at 6:10 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18 to focus on a piece of emergency legislation honoring slain Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona. Association leadership announced the meeting via the official ASUCD Senate Facebook page at 5:29 p.m. on Thursday."

My memorial pics, or at least the rest of them, start here.

It just makes me mad that someone who deserved to live far more than say, other folks I’m sure we can all think of, continue to thrive and be awful. The world needed Natalie and some guy and his illegal guns and his insanity took her away.

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