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Police Officer Killed During Active Shooter Incident In North Sacramento, Suspect Surrenders After Hours-Long Standoff

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

A law enforcement officer mans a barricade near a home that authorities have surrounded where an armed suspect has taken refuge after shooting a Sacramento police officer, Wednesday, June 19, 2019, in Sacramento.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

UPDATE 12:24 p.m.:

The Sacramento Police Department has confirmed that the man who fatally shot one of its officers on Wednesday evening has surrendered after an hours-long standoff.

Deputy Chief Dave Peletta said on Thursday just after midnight that 26-year-old officer Tara O’Sullivan did not survive after the suspect fired a rifle at her while she was mediating a disturbance between a man and a woman at a North Sacramento home just after 6 p.m.

“We are devastated tonight. 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,” Peletta said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom released a statement expressing his condolences for O'Sullivan's family and fellow officers, and ordered flags at the Capitol to fly half-staff.

“Officer O’Sullivan represented the best of what we hope to be as human beings in her selfless service to the community and readiness to help those in need,” Newsom said in a statement. “She knew the dangers of the job, yet chose to dedicate herself at such a young age to those values anyway."

Mayor Darrell Steinberg said that he spoke with O’Sullivan’s family and former police-academy classmates.

“As a father of a 25-year-old daughter, I grieve with you. As mayor of the city Tara was sworn to protect, we are heartbroken and we are here for all of you every step of the way,” he said.

From left, Tim Bocker, Joshua Heredia, Denzel Rencaen and Tara O'Sullivan at the Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars program at Sac State.Courtesy Sacramento State

The mayor added that “it has been 20 years since our department has lost one of its own in the line of duty.”

According to Sacramento Police, the last officer to die in the line of duty was Officer William C. Bean, Jr. in 1999. O'Sullivan is the 17th officer killed in the department's history.

Peletta, who is acting as the department’s chief while Police Chief Daniel Hahn is out of the country, says police responded to a call of a domestic disturbance between a man and woman in the Arden-Arcade area at approximately 11:43 a.m. Wednesday.

Around 5:41 p.m. O’Sullivan and another officer responded to the 200 block Redwood Avenue, which is just north of Del Paso Boulevard. The officers were helping the woman retrieve belongings from a home when Peletta says they believe she was shot by a man with a rifle.

Fellow officers were unable to immediately help O’Sullivan after she was shot. At least five officers fired their weapons throughout the night. Peletta says it took “additional resources” to rescue her from the scene. She was rushed to the UC Davis Medical Center just before 7 p.m., and was pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m.

Tactical teams had surrounded the home in hopes of getting the suspect to surrender, according to Peletta. After a more than eight hour standoff, the suspect surrendered without additional incident approximately 1:54 a.m.

The department hired O’Sullivan in January 2018. She was a “pre-hire” who worked as administrative staff before entering the police academy later that year, in July, and graduated this past December.

Peletta says she was in “phase training” and was scheduled to soon go on patrol by herself. He says he spoke with her classmates and supervisors.

“And the captain shared that she had one of these bubbly personalities, but was always just willing to help. Didn’t know what she was doing a lot of the time. But had that willingness to help. And so clearly, that calling to be a police officer, and those traits, followed her to want to do this job,” Peletta said.

The mayor said that O’Sullivan was a Sacramento State child development major and student in the first graduating class of a “groundbreaking” law enforcement candidates scholars program, which he described as the “first of its kind in the nation.”

“The program emphasizes the importance of inclusion and cultural competence for future law enforcement leaders, of which Tara undoubtedly would have been,” Steinberg said.

He noted that O’Sullivan and Natalie Corona, the city of Davis officer who was killed this past January, were “breaking barriers” as women in law enforcement.

“I hope she’s remembered for that and inspires other young women,” the mayor said.

Councilwoman Angelique Ashby also spoke early on Thursday morning. She said classmates called O’Sullivan tough — she did a 30 minute plank once during the academy.

“She’s tough. She’s strong. There was no one more fit or ready than Tara O’Sullivan to represent the city of Sacramento and our fine police department tonight. This had nothing to do with her being a woman. It had to do with her being a hero,” Ashby said.

Listen to reporter Sammy Caiola, who was on the scene last night, recap the shooting:

Update at 1:15 a.m.

The Sacramento Police Department’s acting chief has confirmed that the officer who was shot Wednesday evening in north Sacramento has died.

Deputy Chief Dave Peletta told reporters at a press conference early Thursday morning that 26-year-old officer Tara O’Sullivan did not survive after a man firing a rifle attacked her while she was answering a domestic violence call just after 6 p.m.

“We’re devastated,” Peletta said at the press conference.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg joined the deputy chief, along with Councilmember Angelique Ashby.

“It is now our horrible reality,” the mayor said. “This is a horrible night for the city of Sacramento.”

Steinberg said it has been 20 years since the department lost one of its own in the line of duty.

“At such a young age, to dedicate yourself to the public service in a most dangerous profession … what an incredible role model,” Steinberg said. “And the fact that she was a young woman, just like Natalie Corona [the city of Davis officer who died in the line of duty earlier this year], it’s breaking barriers. I hope she’s remembered for that.”

Deputy Chief Peletta said the suspect remains barricaded into a home just north of Del Paso Boulevard.

“It takes as long as it takes,” Peletta said of on ongoing negotiations with active shooter in North Sacramento.

No other officers are injured that they know of, he said.

“We do believe this subject does have a rifle, and he has shot this rifle multiple times. ... The area is still dangerous at this time. We do not want anybody in the area because we don’t want anyone else being harmed,” police spokesperson Vance Chandler said of the active shooter situation.

Updated 12:20 a.m.

A Sacramento police officer is in serious condition after being shot Wednesday by a man with a rifle in north Sacramento. The suspect remains barricaded inside a home and continues to fire at law enforcement. 

The department will hold a press conference at 12:30 a.m., where a spokesperson will update on the situation in north Sacramento, which it says is “still active.”

CapRadio reporter Sammy Caiola is at UC Davis Medical Center, where a police officer was transported earlier this evening.

“A white hearse and multiple police cars and motorcycles are stationed outside” the hospital, she says.

As of midnight, the department continues to describe the incident in North Sacramento as “active.”

Amy Shackleford, who identified herself as a neighbor, says that an individual has emerged from the home where the suspect is reportedly barricaded “every 15 minutes or 20 minutes” and has shot rounds into the air. She also says she has heard shots fired “through the walls” of the residence.

“We’ve heard like 23 rounds so far in the last four hours,” she said.

Law enforcement has established an evacuation center for residents at a nearby elementary school.

Officers arrived at the 200 block of Redwood Avenue around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, responding to the report of a disturbance between a man and a woman, according to police spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler.

About a half hour later, while officers attempted to help the woman retrieve items from a home, the suspect shot the officer with a rifle in the backyard of a residence and continued firing.

"Our officers maintained cover and safe positions until we were able to get an armored vehicle into the area," Chandler said.

At approximately 7 p.m. police brought an armored vehicle to the scene and transported the officer to a local hospital.

Sacramento Police officers respond to a home that authorities have surrounded where a gunman has taken refuge after shooting a Sacramento police officer, Wednesday, June 19, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif.Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo
A man and woman watch as law enforcement officers surround a home where a gunman has taken refuge after shooting a Sacramento police officer, Wednesday, June 19, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif.Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

As of 9 p.m. Wednesday the suspect was still barricaded inside a home, according to Chandler. Shots were last heard around 8 p.m., though no other injuries have been reported.

Police are still advising all residents to avoid the area. There is an evacuation center open at Noralto Elementary School at 477 Las Palmas Avenue for those displaced by the police activity.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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