For the first time in 20 years, a Sacramento, CA, police officer was killed in the line of duty. Officer Tara O’Sullivan was shot about 30 minutes after the police arrived in response to a domestic dispute at a home in the Noralto neighborhood of northern Sacremento. There were no other injuries, and the gunman surrendered after a seven-hour standoff with the police. O’Sullivan died in the hospital after surgery.
Officers arrived on the scene around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19. It was just before 6 p.m. – as a woman was being escorted out of the house – that a man, who the police have not yet identified publicly, opened fire with what law enforcement officials believe was a rifle. O’Sullivan was hit and everyone else took cover. Because of the standoff, she lay in the yard for about 45 minutes until officers could get an armored vehicle on site to rescue her.
The neighborhood was sealed for the duration of the seven-hour standoff. At one point, the shooter tossed his cell phone out of the house, but officers returned it with a robot to reestablish contact and attempt negotiation. The attacker eventually surrendered early Thursday morning and was taken into custody without further incident.
During a press conference, Deputy Chief Dave Peletta said that Officer O’Sullivan was assisting a woman in removing her belongings from the house, and that the civilian was not injured. O’Sullivan was partnered with a training officer and had a few weeks left before being on her own, he explained. The 26-year-old had only been with the department since January 2018. She was one of the first graduates of Sacramento State’s Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars Program in 2017 before attending Sacramento Police Academy.
“We are devastated tonight,” Peletta told reporters. “There are no words to convey the depth of sadness we feel or how heartbroken we are for the family of our young, brave officer.” Mayor Darrel Steinberg called her a hero, and, as Peletta said during the briefing, “she gave her young life while protecting our community.” At only 26 years old, Tara O’Sullivan’s live was cut tragically short – yet it was her and her colleagues’ actions that likely saved the civilian woman’s life, and she will be remembered for her heroic act.
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