PLEASANT HILL (CBS SF) – In her all too tragically short life, slain Sacramento police officer Tara O’Sullivan touched many lives in the Bay Area as she grew up in Pleasant Hill.
Police work was always dear to her heart from an early age. She worked as an police explorer with both the Pleasant Hill and Martinez police departments before leaving to attend college and begin her career with the Sacramento Police Department.
“Tara O’Sullivan will always be remembered as a vibrant, energetic and passionate community servant who rose through the ranks as an explorer sergeant and served the community with purpose,” the Martinez police posted on their Facebook page. “She was taken from us too soon and she will be missed.”
On their Facebook page, the Concord police posted: “REST IN PEACE, SISTER – You are a HERO and will never be forgotten for your sacrifice. ~454”
O’Sullivan graduated from College Park High School in 2011 and attended Diablo Valley College before finishing up her studies at Sacramento State.
“I am devastated that this young and promising life has been lost to such violence,” said Sacramento State President President Robert S. Nelsen in a statement. “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.”
Nelsen also met with local media to talk about O’Sullivan.
“We are a family. You know us. We are all hurting today,” said Nelsen. “She had a big heart, a strong mind, she made you smile, she is exactly what we need in the police force.”
At Sacramento State, O’Sullivan was among the first students to enroll in the school’s Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars program in 2016.
“She was one of the first bright lights in the program because she was a go-getter,” said Dr. Shelby Moffatt, who is in charge of the LECS program. “She wasn’t the stereotypical big, tall, strong person but she had tenacity.”
“I’m really honored to have known Tara O’Sullivan. Nothing would get in her way of climbing and surmounting her goals,” said Dr. Melissa Repa, the director of career center at Sacramento State. “She was a hero. That’s exactly what she was. She’s a role model to so many people.”
The flag at College Park High School is flying at half-staff Thursday, as are the flags in front of the Pleasant Hill and Martinez police departments.
Governor Gavin Newsom called the 26-year-old “the best of what we hope to be as human beings.”
“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. “She knew the dangers of the job, yet chose to dedicate herself at such a young age to those values anyway.”
O’Sullivan, a rookie police officer, was mortally wounded while on a domestic disturbance call with her training officer on the 200 block of Redwood Ave. late Wednesday night.
She and her training officer were helping the female gather her belongings. When they entered a home around 5:30 p.m., a man shot O’Sullivan in the backyard with a high-powered rifle.
Due to active fire, it took officials nearly an hour to get to O’Sullivan, who was down in a yard behind the suspect house. She was rushed to UC Davis Medical Center where she succumbed to her wounds.
A standoff with the suspect, who had barricaded himself inside a home, came to an end at 1:54 a.m. with the alleged gunman being taken into custody.
The Sacramento Police Department have booked 45-year-old Adel Sambrano Ramos on felony murder charges relating to O’Sullivan death.