Two female rookie police officers were shot and killed one day and half a country apart. Chateri Payne, a police officer in Shreveport, La., was shot at least four times, including once in the head, at a home Wednesday as she prepared to start a night shift, report CNN and Fox News. Payne, mother to a young child, had graduated from the police academy in November, per CBS News. A day later, 22-year-old Natalie Corona became the first police officer to be killed in the line of duty in Davis, Calif., since 1959. She was hit when bullets were fired at the scene of a triple-car accident opposite a fire station, and died at a Sacramento hospital. Corona had just completed field training, having graduated from the police academy in July.
She’d “been out on her own for just a couple of weeks,” Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel told reporters. He called Corona’s death “an absolutely devastating loss to the police department,” where she was viewed as “a rising star,” while a reporter shared a smiling photo of Corona being given her badge. CBS Sacramento reports the suspected shooter was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No suspects in Payne’s killing were identified as of Thursday, when a Facebook post penned by the rookie officer at the time of her graduation went viral. Payne wrote that she intended “to become an influential and better person” for those she was charged with protecting. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards referred to her death as “a tragic loss … for all of us who rely on police officers to keep us safe.” (Read more police officers stories.)