(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — The Sacramento Police Department is mourning the loss of a 26-year-old officer who was shot dead while responding to a call Wednesday night.
Tara Christa O’Sullivan was a member of Sacramento State’s “law enforcement scholars program” and graduated from the police academy in December. She was hired in January.
“I’m sad to share with you tonight that we lost one of own,” acting Police Chief Dave Peletta said at a press conference early Thursday morning. “She gave her young life protecting our community.”
O’Sullivan was partnered with a training officer and accompanied by others from the department when she responded to a domestic dispute Wednesday, police said.
At about 5:41 p.m. officers responded to standby at the home of the dispute while a woman gathered some of her belongings, police said, and at approximately 6:10 p.m., O’Sullivan was shot by a “rifle type” gun. The suspect then continued to fire.
Multiple officers fired back in the intense firefight, police said. Officers also evacuated residents in the area.
About 50 minutes after O’Sullivan was shot, officers rushed in with an armed car to rescue her and take her to a hospital, according to police.
The standoff lasted hours, and the suspected shooter surrendered just before 2 a.m. Thursday and was taken into custody.
The Sacramento Police Department tweeted: “We are devastated. There are no words to convey the depth of the sadness we feel, or how heartbroken we are for the family of our young, brave officer. The men & women of our police department will continue to do our jobs to protect our community, & we will draw strength from the courage of Tara.”
It is with a broken heart that we have to share with all of you that earlier today we lost one of our own. While on a call for service in North Sacramento, Officer Tara O’Sullivan was shot and killed. She gave her young life while protecting our community pic.twitter.com/MXr7C4M5qJ
— Sacramento Police (@SacPolice) June 20, 2019
O’Sullivan “had one of these bubbly personalities and always willing to help,” Peletta said.
“To Tara’s parents and family, and Tara’s fellow officers, I am so sorry,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a statement released by the police department. “As Mayor of the city she swore to protect, our city is heartbroken and we are here for you every step of the way.”
It had been 20 years since the department lost an officer in the line of duty. She’s the 23rd officer killed this year from gunfire.
In January, 22-year-old Natalie Corona of the Davis Police Department was killed in an “ambush”-style attack responding to an accident. After sustaining multiple gunshot wounds at the scene, she died at a trauma center in Sacramento.
“She was just an absolute star in the department and someone that pretty much every department member looked to as a close friend, a sister,” Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said at the time.
Sacramento City Council Rep. Angelique Ashby said there were seven women in O’Sullivan’s graduating class and that more women may get shot as more risk their lives by joining the force.
O’Sullivan’s death “had nothing to do with her being a woman,” Ashby said. “It had to do with her being a hero.”
During the standoff in which O’Sullivan was killed, five officers fired their duty weapons, said police. They have been placed on paid administrative leave, police said.
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