Sacramento police officer killed while responding to domestic disturbance call
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTVU) - A Sacramento police officer was killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic disturbance call, and early Thursday morning, the suspect accused of shooting her to death surrendered and was arrested, authorities said.
But Sacramento police identified the officer as Tara O'Sullivan, 26, who was rushed to UC Davis Medical Center late Wednesday night, where she was later pronounced dead.
She was the first officer to die in the line of duty in 20 years, according to Sacramento Mayor Darrel Steinberg.
"Every day in service to all of us in Sacramento, our police officers leave home knowing there is a possibility they will never return," Steinberg said at a news conference early Thursday morning. "Today, that horrible possibility has become the devastating reality."
He noted, however, that the city's last two police academy classes have each lost an officer in the line of duty, mentioning the death of Natalie Corona, 22, a police officer in Davis, just 30 minutes away, who was killed in January of this year.
Both officers, Steinberg said, "were committed to serving selflessly. They had big dreams and even bigger hearts."
O'Sullivan was helping a woman collect her belongings and leave a home in a north Sacramento neighborhood near the intersection of Redwood Avenue and Edgewater Road about 6 p.m. Wednesday, when the gunman opened fire, authorities said.
She lay in the backyard of the home and officers couldn't reach her because the gunman kept firing, police said. It took 45 minutes to get her to the hospital.
"Our officers maintained cover in safe positions until we were able to get an armored vehicle in the area," Sgt. Vance Chandler said at a news conference.
The woman who was being escorted from the home wasn't hurt and the relationship between her and the suspected gunman wasn't immediately known.
The suspect barricaded himself and continued shooting throughout the night.
The standoff ended nearly eight hours later, when the suspect surrendered.
He has been identified as 45-year-old Adel Sambrano Ramos.
Heavily armored police from several agencies swarmed the residential neighborhood, where a couple dozen marked and unmarked police cars had gathered.
Deputy Chief Dave Peletta said O'Sullivan was partnered with a training officer when she was shot.
"Our hearts are with Tara’s family whose pain can hardly be imagined," he said. "We ask our community to hold their family in their thoughts and prayers."
Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement that 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. She knew the dangers of the job, yet chose to dedicate herself at such a young age to those values anyway.”
He said flags would fly at half-staff in the Capitol in the city that she patrolled.
According to city records, O'Sullivan had been working for the city since January 2018. 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.
O'Sullivan grew up in Pleasant Hill and attended College Park High School. She later went on to Diablo Valley College and Sacramento State, where she majored in child development, before graduating from the police academy last December, Steinberg said.
DVC President Susan Lamb issued a statement on O' Sullivan's death that read in part, "We are proud of her success and of her choice to serve, protect and give back to her community. We are heartbroken that her life was taken so needlessly."
City councilwoman Angelique Ashby noted that both young officers who have died this year in nearby cities were women. But she added that she "wouldn't want young girls to walk away thinking that this happened because she was a woman."
Instead, Ashby said, "this will increasingly happen to women because women are joining the police force in increasing numbers."
Specifically, Ashby noted how strong O'Sullivan was, noting she once did a 30-minute plank during the academy.
"She's tough, she's strong," Ashby noted. "There was no one more fit or ready than Tara O'Sullivan to represent the city of Sacramento and our fine police department."