Tara O’Sullivan, a former child development major who was part of a groundbreaking leadership program, was identified as the Sacramento police officer who was shot and killed in an active shooter situation that stemmed from a domestic dispute. She was remembered as an officer who was “committed to public service,” in the words of the city’s mayor.
“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,” Sacramento police wrote. “Our hearts are with Tara’s family, whose pain can hardly be imagined. Please hold her family in your thoughts and prayers.”
The Sacramento Bee is naming the accused gunman as Adel Sambrano Ramos, 45. You can read more about him here.
Police added: “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.”
O’Sullivan, 26, was once part of what was described as a “groundbreaking Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars (LECS) program” through Sacramento State, and she described in a video how the program helped fashion her into a leader. In their first press conference, police had said the officer was in serious condition, but they later confirmed that, tragically, she had died. The suspect, who has not been identified, is now in custody.
In a news conference, Deputy Chief Dave Polletta said:
“I am sad to share with you… that we lost one of our own. Officer Tara Christina O’Sullivan died at the hospital. Officer Tara O’Sullivan was shot and killed. She gave her young life while protecting our community.” She was hired in January 2018. In July of that same year, she entered the police academy. She graduated later that year in December. “No words can convey the depth of sadness we feel.”
“To Tara’s parents and family, and Tara’s fellow officers, I am so sorry. As a father I am grieving with you. As Mayor of the city she swore to protect, our city is heartbroken and we are here for you every step of the way,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
Here’s what you need to know:
Tara O’Sullivan Was Involved in a Program Designed to Promote Future Leaders in Law Enforcement
According to Sacramento State, the Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars (LECS) program is the “first of its kind in the nation.”
“This program has given me many opportunities to understand what it takes to be a leader in law enforcement,” O’Sullivan said in a video on the program.
The school’s president Robert Nelsen released a statement after Tara’s death that said, “I am deeply saddened to share that one of our alumni, Tara O’Sullivan, was killed in the line of duty on Wednesday evening.” The president continued:
Tara, a Sacramento Police Officer, was responding to a domestic violence call when she was fatally shot by a gunman in North Sacramento. She was only 26 years old. I am devastated that this young and promising life has been lost to such violence.
Tara enrolled in the Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars (LECS) Program at Sacramento State and was in the first class to graduate from that program in 2017. She is remembered as one of the brightest scholars in LECS and as a highly active leader. Tara graduated from Sacramento State in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development. She loved the San Francisco Giants and was excited to start her career in law enforcement.
Tara began her formal training with the Sacramento Police Department Academy in July 2018 and graduated in December 2018. Since January, she has served with the Sacramento Police Department.
Our hearts go out to Tara’s family, friends, classmates, and fellow officers. This exceptional young officer will be remembered by the Hornet Family for her intelligence, commitment to public service, and bravery.
Tara O’Sullivan was one of four seniors involved in the program. She was described as a child development major. In 2017, the program wrote on Facebook, “A big thank you to everyone that made it out to the LECS Program Graduation Ceremony to celebrate the achievement of the first 4 of our candidates to go on to the Sacramento Police Department Academy — Tara O’Sullivan, Denzel Recaen, Joshua Miles Heredia, Timothy Blocker!! We are so proud!?”
“LECS is a one-of-a-kind program,” Melissa Repa, interim director of Sac State’s Career Center, said in the Sacramento State article on the program. “There are law enforcement programs on other college campuses, but unlike them, LECS challenges the ‘status quo’ and focuses on changing the outcomes we currently see in law enforcement. LECS prepares individuals to enter a law enforcement academy as potential future leaders and change agents.”
O’Sullivan was listed as a dean’s honoree at the school in 2016.
O’Sullivan was raised in Pleasant Hill and graduated from College Park High School, NBC Bay Area reported. She attended Diablo Valley College and California State University, Sacramento.
The Officer Was Shot in a Yard By an Active Shooter With a Rifle
Sacramento police Sgt. Vance Chandler said in a press conference on the evening of June 19, 2019 that, shortly before noon, police received a call of a disturbance between a male and a female.
Shortly after 3:30 p.m, police responded and made contact with the female at a separate location from the active incident. After that, police went to a residence in the 200 block of Redwood to help her gather some of her belongings. There were multiple officers present, Chandler said.
“While our officers were on scene, one of our officers was shot,” he revealed.
The officer was shot with a rifle. “The officer went down in the yard of a residence. Due to the suspect’s 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,” Chandler said. “Our officers were able to bring an armored vehicle to the location.” They were able to remove the wounded officer.
The officer at that point was listed as being in serious condition. There was one suspect, and he was still firing a rifle at about 9 p.m. Other agencies were present to help. “We are very thankful for all of their help,” Chandler said.
“This is still a very active and dangerous scene…he was still firing that rifle approximately 40 minutes ago,” Chandler said at that point. However, the next morning, police announced: “the suspect surrendered and was safely taken into custody, investigators and CSI are still actively processing the scene at this time.”
Chandler said that officers arrived on scene shortly after 5:41 p.m. Shots were fired shortly after 6:10 p.m. The armored vehicle was in place shortly before 7, and the wounded officer was retrieved at 6:54 p.m., and the officer was transported at 6:59 p.m. “This is a very unique situation,” Chandler said due to the suspect firing a weapon at officers “multiple times.”
According to Sacramento Bee, the suspect “was shouting at police and had thrown a cell phone out a door of the house.”
Police have preliminary information on the suspect’s identity but did not release it.
Police later released this press release with a similar summary. Here’s what it says:
On June 19, 2019, at approximately 11:43 a.m., the Sacramento Police Department received a call regarding a disturbance between a male and a female. Officers made contact with the involved female at a residence in the 3700 block of Esperanza Drive.
At approximately 5:41p.m. officers responded to a residence in the 200 block of Redwood Avenue to standby while the involved female gathered some belongings from a residence.
At approximately 6:10 p.m., officers on scene reported shots had been fired, and an officer was struck by gun fire. The suspect continued to fire multiple times and the officers believed the gun used by the suspect was a rifle type firearm.
At approximately 6:54 p.m., additional officers responded with an armored vehicle to rescue the officer that had been shot.
At approximately 6:59 p.m., the officer was transported to a local area hospital.
Officers remained on scene and secured a perimeter to contain the suspect who sporadically shot at officers. Throughout this prolonged event, multiple officers returned fire. Officers also evacuated nearby residents in the area.
Officers from the Crisis Negotiation Team eventually established communication with the suspect. Several hours later, at approximately 1:54 a.m., on June 20, 2019, the suspect surrendered and was safely taken into custody. Officers secured the scene for CSI and detectives.
The officer who was shot, Tara Christina O’Sullivan succumbed to her injuries after being transported to the hospital.
This article is being updated as more information is learned about Tara O’Sullivan.