Officer down: Cop killed trying to help a woman get to safety


She was just trying to keep a woman safe, and it cost this police officer her life.

On Wednesday, a Sacramento police officer was shot and killed while responding to a disturbance at a north Sacramento home, Deputy Police Chief Dave Peletta said.


Officer Tara O’Sullivan, 26, passed away after being taken to UC Davis Medical Center. 

“Officer Tara O’Sullivan was shot and killed,” Peletta said early Thursday morning. “She gave her young life while protecting our community.”

It started around noon Wednesday after officers got reports of a disturbance between a man and a woman.


They arrived at a home near Edgewater Road and Redwood Avenue around 3:30 p.m. to help the woman gather some belongings.


There were several officers at the home with the woman when the man entered the home around 6:10 p.m. Police say he immediately started shooting with a rifle, and hit O’Sullivan in a yard.

The other officers were forced take cover and couldn’t get to O’Sullivan, although they were able to get the woman out safe.

An armored vehicle was called to the scene to help get O’Sullivan, but didn’t arrive until 6:50 p.m. Officers were able to get to her nine minutes later and rushed her to the hospital.


The man barricaded himself inside the home, and officers set up a perimeter around the house, all while the man kept firing at police.

On Thursday morning, police reporting that they had arrested the man.


 The neighborhood was evacuated with displaced residents being brought to Noralto Elementary School at 477 Las Palmas.

They’re still letting people know to avoid the area.

O’Sullivan was still a relatively new officer.  She graduated from Sacramento State University in December 2017 from the Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars program, and then joined the Sacramento Police Department in January 2018.  She was accepted into the police academy in July 2018, and graduated from there in December 2018.

O’Sullivan was still only in phase training when she died, and was scheduled to shadow in a couple of weeks.

“We’re devastated tonight,” Peletta said. “There are no words to convey the depth of sadness we feel or how heartbroken we are for our family for our young, brave officer. The men and women of our department will continue to do our jobs to protect the community. And, we will draw from the strength and courage of Tara. Our hearts are with Tara’s family, whose pain can hardly be imagined.”

According to Mayor Darrell Steinberg, it’s been 20 years since the Sacramento Police Department lost an officer in the line of duty.

“Everyday, in service to all of us in Sacramento, our police officers leave home knowing there’s a possibility that they will never return,” he said. “Today that horrible possibility has become the devastating reality for Tara O’Sullivan, her family, her friends, her classmates and her fellow officers. It is now our horrible reality as a city family and a broader community.”

“This is not fair and it is not right,” Steinberg added said.


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