Kevin Douglas Limbaugh, the assailant who gunned down Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona Thursday night, was legally prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of a battery case from last September, court records show, and probation officers at the time determined his risk of re-offending was low.
A criminal protective order filed in Yolo County Superior Court on Sept. 24 required Limbaugh to stay away from the Cache Creek Casino Resort co-worker he had sucker punched during a graveyard shift, and ordered that he “must not own, possess, buy or try to buy, receive, or otherwise obtain a firearm or ammunition.”
The order, which was to be in effect for three years, also required Limbaugh, 48, to surrender any firearms he owned within 24 hours, and he eventually turned over to police a black .223-caliber AR-15 Bushmaster rifle, court records say.
Despite the order, police said Limbaugh obtained at least two semiautomatic handguns in recent months – a .45-caliber and a 9 mm – and went on a rampage Thursday night that killed Corona, 22, and left bullet holes in a nearby house, a passing fire truck, a text book inside a backpack worn by a young woman and the boot heel of a firefighter fleeing the gunfire.
Davis police said Saturday night that they had recovered the two weapons and that they were not registered to Limbaugh. Investigators do not yet know how Limbaugh obtained the weapons or how he was able to have them while under a criminal restraining order, said Davis Police Lt. Paul Doroshov Monday afternoon.
“It’s still unknown,” Doroshov said from the lobby of the Davis Police Department, where bundles of flowers and hand-written condolences sit in the doorway and against the walls. “His having these (weapons) is illegal with a standing order, but it is possible to have unregistered weapons. The investigation is going to shake out where these weapons were from.”
Limbaugh’s attack began just before 7 p.m. Thursday night as Corona, a rookie officer who was on patrol alone, was investigating a minor three-car collision near downtown Davis.
Police say Limbaugh slipped up on the scene on a bicycle, parked in the shadows and then approached Corona as she was handing a driver’s license back to one of the motorists.
Limbaugh fired over the right shoulder of the motorist, striking Corona in the neck, then walked over to her after she fell to the ground and continued firing into her.
Police say that after Limbaugh killed Corona he reloaded his handguns at least twice and went on a shooting spree around the block before retiring into a rental home he shared with roommates at 501 E St. He emerged twice – once wearing a ballistic vest and holding a handgun – as police surrounded the home and used loudspeakers ordering him to surrender.
Instead, police say he shoved a couch against the front door, then shot himself in the head.
Detectives subsequently found the two handguns, as well as a note he left on his pillow that blamed the police department for “hitting me with ultra sonic waves meant to keep dogs from barking.”
“I did my best to appease them, but they have continued for years and I can’t live this way anymore,” the note added.
The criminal protective order was filed Sept. 24, the same day Limbaugh was charged with a felony count of battery with serious bodily injury. That charge stemmed from Limbaugh punching a co-worker, Gilbert Duane McCreath, while the two worked at the casino the night of Sept. 20.
Limbaugh’s employment there ended “immediately thereafter,” the casino said.
The day after the protective order was filed, Limbaugh was summoned to Yolo County’s probation office, where he was evaluated in a 30- to 45-minute meeting, interim probation chief Dan Fruchtenicht told The Bee Monday.
During that session, Limbaugh was given a high-risk assessment that determined the chance of him re-offending was low, probation officials said. He was not administered a mental health examination, they said.
Probation next tried to contact Limbaugh at his Davis home on Oct. 22, but he was not there and an officer left a business card behind reminding Limbaugh that he was due back in court a week later.
Limbaugh made that court appearance, pleading to a misdemeanor count agreeing to give up his Bushmaster rifle to police. He was placed on three years summary probation, meaning he was not required to report in regularly with probation.
Limbaugh surrendered the rifle on Nov. 9 and a court filing made 10 days later states that authorities had reviewed the state’s automated firearms system records and determined “there are no firearms registered to the defendant.”