Sacramento, CA – Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan was murdered in an ambush attack while assisting with a domestic disturbance situation on Wednesday night.
The 26-year-old officer and her field training officer (FTO) responded to the 200-block of Redwood Avenue after meeting up with a woman who was involved in the domestic violence incident earlier in the day, according to The Sacramento Bee.
The initial disturbance had already been reported to police, and Officer O’Sullivan and her FTO took the woman to the home to help her gather up her belongings and to potentially mediate the situation between her and a male at that location, KOVR reported.
At approximately 6:10 p.m., a gunman opened fire with what investigators now believe was a rifle, Sacramento Police Department Deputy Chief Dave Peletta said during a press conference early Thursday morning.
Officer O’Sullivan was hit by one of the rounds, and collapsed in a yard.
Her fellow officers tried to reach her, but the gunman continued to fire to keep them away, KOVR reported.
An armored vehicle arrived at the scene at approximately 6:54 p.m., and the officers inside retrieved Officer O’Sullivan and rushed the wounded officer to University of California - Davis Medical Center just five minutes later.
The woman the officers were assisting was not injured during the attack, and was immediately moved to safety.
The gunman continued firing from his barricaded position inside the home, and ultimately surrendered after a nearly eight-hour standoff, FOX News reported.
Officer O’Sullivan succumbed to her gunshot wounds late Wednesday night after she underwent surgery, according to The Sacramento Bee.
Chief Peletta confirmed the officer’s tragic death just after midnight.
“I’m sad to share with you tonight that we lost one of our own,” he told reporters. “She gave her young life while protecting our community.”
Officer O’Sullivan was hired by the Sacramento Police Department in January of 2018, and entered the police academy that July.
After her graduation in December, she began her phase training with the SPD, and was slated to begin patrolling on her own in the next several weeks, Chief Peletta said.
“We are devastated tonight,” the chief continued. “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.”
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said that the city stands behind the SPD and Officer O’Sullivan’s loved ones.
“This is a horrible night for the city of Sacramento,” Steinberg said during the press conference. “To Tara’s parents and family and Tara’s fellow officers, I am so sorry… we are heartbroken and we are here for all of you, every step of the way.”
“Every day, in service to all of us, our police officers leave home, knowing there is a possibility that they will never return,” the mayor continued. “Today, that horrible possibility has become the devastating reality.”
He said that Officer O’Sullivan, who majored in child development at Sacramento State, had a “bright future” ahead of her and was committed to the community she served.
“She was in the first graduating class of a groundbreaking program at Sacramento State – the Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars Program,” Steinburg added.
“The program emphasizes the importance of inclusion and cultural competence for future law enforcement leaders, of which Tara undoubtedly would have been,” he said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Tara O’Sullivan, your life mattered.