A rookie Sacramento police officer on the force for just six months was fatally shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call Wednesday, police said.
Officer Tara O'Sullivan, 26, was shot by a rifleman who blasted away at officers trying to rescue her, preventing them from getting to their colleague as she lay wounded for nearly an hour, police said.
O'Sullivan died at UC Davis Medical Center hours after the gunman shot her, Deputy Chief Dave Peletta told reporters.
"This is not fair and it is not right," Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said.
The suspect, identified by Sacramento police as 45-year-old Adel Sambrano Ramos, has been arrested on charges relating to the murder of O'Sullivan.
Peletta said O'Sullivan was with another officer when she was shot just before 6 p.m. They were helping a woman collect her belongings to leave a home in the north Sacramento neighborhood, when O'Sullivan was wounded, Sgt. Vance Chandler said. The other woman wasn’t hurt, and the relationship between her and the gunman wasn’t immediately known.
O'Sullivan was in the backyard at the time and officers couldn’t reach her for 45 minutes because the gunman kept firing, Chandler said.
"Our officers maintained cover in safe positions until we were able to get an armored vehicle in the area," he said.
Heavily armed police from several agencies swarmed the residential neighborhood while the standoff was underway and residents were told to stay away from the area.
The suspect eventually surrendered after an 8-hour standoff and was taken into custody at about 2 a.m., police said. He has not been identified.
"[Officer O'Sullivan] gave her young life while protecting our community," Polletta said early Thursday morning.
O'Sullivan grew up in Pleasant Hill and graduated from College Park High School, according to the Concord Police Department. She later attended Diablo Valley College and California State University, Sacramento.
She was part of the first class of graduates of Sacramento State's Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars program in 2017 and went on to the Sacramento Police Academy where she recently graduated in December 2018. That is the same academy slain Davis officer Natalie Corona graduated from in July 2018. She died after being shot in January of this year.
Before becoming an officer, O'Sullivan spent time as a police explorer, working with the Martinez and Pleasant Hill police departments, according to Martinez police.
"Tara O'Sullivan will always be remembered as a vibrant, energetic and passionate community servant who rose through the ranks as an explorer sergeant and served the community with purpose," Martinez police said in a statement. "She was taken from us too soon and she will be missed."
A memorial fund for O'Sullivan has been established by the CAHP Credit Union. Donations can be made on the CAHP Credit Union website or mailed to:
Officer Tara O’Sullivan Memorial Fund, CAHP Credit Union, P.O. Box 276507, Sacramento, CA 95827-6507.
“Officer O’Sullivan represented the best of what we hope to be as human beings in her selfless service to the community and readiness to help those in need,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Thursday. “She knew the dangers of the job, yet chose to dedicate herself at such a young age to those values anyway. Today, Jennifer and I join the Sacramento community and all Californians in expressing our deep condolences, and stand in solidarity with Officer O’Sullivan’s family, fellow officers and those she served so honorably.”