A rookie 26-year-old female police officer was shot and killed as she responded to a domestic disturbance that later turned into a stand-off with police outside a Sacramento home.
Officer Tara O’Sullivan lay wounded in the yard of the suspect’s house for 45 minutes before officers, pinned down by the gunman’s rifle fire, finally rescued her under the cover of an armored truck, police told reporters.
O’Sullivan was pronounced dead at UC Davis Medical Center within hours, Deputy Police Chief Dave Peletta told reporters during a news conference at around 12:40 a.m. local time.
At the time of that press conference, police said the gunman was still holed up in the neighborhood home, and they were seeking to peacefully negotiate with him.
The stand-off ended at 1:54 a.m, according to the Sacramento Bee, citing police radio traffic, about one hour after officials had announced the death of the first Sacramento officer in 20 years.
O’Sullivan was among several officers who were responding to reports of a domestic dispute between a male and a female on the evening of June 19, according to police.
Accompanied by a training officer, O’Sullivan was helping to pick up the woman’s belongings in her yard at around 6:10 p.m. when the gunman opened fire from the residence on the 200 block of Redwood Avenue in north Sacramento.
“Due to one of our officers being shot, our officers took safe positions, and at that time they believed the officer was shot with a rifle,” Sergeant Vance Chandler told reporters at an earlier press conference. “The officer went down in the yard of a residence and, due to the suspect being armed with a rifle and actively shooting our officers, maintained cover in safe positions until we were able to get an armored vehicle in the area.”
That vehicle was able to rescue her at 6:54 p.m., Chandler said, and she was transported to a hospital at 6:59 p.m.
It was not possible to say whether her life could have been saved if officers had been able to extract her from the scene earlier, said Peletta.
O’Sullivan started on the police force in administration but had then enlisted in the training academy, graduating in December and was only two weeks from completing her phase training, meaning she would be allowed to go out alone.
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.
“She had one of these bubbly personalities that always wanted to help,” said Peletta.
“We are devastated tonight,” Poletta said. “There are no words to convey the depth of sadness we feel or how heartbroken we are for our family of our young, brave officer.”
“She gave her young life while protecting our community.”
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said that he was “heartbroken.”
The detention of the suspect has not been officially announced as of the time of writing.
Polletta said earlier that several tactical teams had surrounded the home. “The goal is that we want to negotiate with the suspect and have him peacefully surrender,” he said at the time. “We don’t want to rush anything and time is on our side in these situations.”
According to the Sacramento Bee, police had gone to great lengths to end the stand-off without lethal force, despite being shot at for hours.
Officers had sent the man’s discarded phone back in via a police robot, so that they could negotiate, according to the Bee.
The suspect has not yet been named in any reports.