Police Dispatcher Dies, Apparently a Suicide

Times Staff Writer

A 22-year-old dispatcher for the Orange Police Department died of a gunshot wound to the head Wednesday in a remote area of Riverside County, a death the Riverside County Sheriff's Department is investigating as a suicide.

The victim and her husband, a Buena Park police officer, were target shooting when she died, authorities said.

Apparently Self-Inflicted

The victim, identified as Lisa Koressel, died almost instantly, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, according to Riverside County Sheriff's Department investigators. The Riverside County coroner's office scheduled an autopsy for today.

Investigators said the woman's husband, William R. Koressel, a 23-year-old Buena Park patrol officer of two years, heard his wife fire one of two .38-caliber revolvers the couple were using for target practice and turned to find her wounded in the head.

Koressel reported the shooting to two passing Department of Fish and Game officers, who in turn notified the Sheriff's Department about 11:40 a.m. of a "possible report of suicide," said Riverside CountySheriff's Sgt. Steve Scully. He said the woman left no suicide note and made no dying statement to her husband before she shooting and her death.

Shooting Near Lake

Authorities said the shooting occurred at the edge of Lake Mathews, about a quarter-mile off Cajalco Road in Glen Valley, an unincorporated area south of Riverside. Investigators knew of "no specific motive (for the dispatcher's apparent suicide) other than periodic depression," Scully said, adding that Lisa Koressel had not been under any sort of mental care.

It was doubtful Lisa Koressel accidentally shot herself, Scully said, "based on what we know now . . . ."

The couple, who married less than two years ago and were living in a Buena Park apartment, on Wednesday had gone to look at their newly purchased house, which is being built in the Riverside area,before they went "to practice target shooting," said Officer Terry Branum, Buena Park police spokesman.

Friends said the Koressels planned to move into their new home by the end of March and, once settled, to start a family.

Had Worked at Knott's

News of the shooting spread quickly Wednesday afternoon through both the Orange and Buena Park police agencies and the security department of Knott's Berry Farm, where Lisa Koressel had worked until a year ago as a dispatcher. Friends and former co-workers expressed disbelief when told of the apparent suicide.

The couple had met at the Buena Park amusement park more than two years ago, when the officer picked up people arrested there to haul to jail and stopped by to chat with the dispatcher.

"I've known Bill and Lisa for going on five years now. . . , " said Bret Kirk, a Knott's security sergeant who learned of the shooting from a Buena Park police officer and mutual friend of the couple.

"I can't even really imagine Lisa doing something like this. It doesn't even sound like something she'd ever do," Kirk added. "They were a very happy couple . . . . She wanted to be a dispatcher, she started her career at Orange P.D. They're good on their financial (situation) because they were in that apartment saving money . . . she and Bill had a nice thing going," he sighed. "They just bought a house, just starting out their life together."

Two Revolvers

Scully, the sheriff's homicide sergeant, said William Koressel told investigators that the couple had two .38-caliber revolvers with them near the lake: the husband using a two-inch-barrel gun, the wife a four-inch barrel.

Lisa Koressel's gun "had been removed from the scene, from where she was," Scully said. He said "we located it in their car later."

Was it significant that a police officer would move a weapon--or evidence in general--from the scene where his wife had just shot herself, Scully was asked.

"You're not thinking as a police officer at that time," Scully responded.

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