What happened in the north Sacramento shooting that left a young police officer dead

Five Sacramento Police Department officers fired on an unnamed suspect who is believed to have killed one of their own Wednesday night, according to a media release Thursday morning.

Officer Tara O’Sullivan, 26, was fatally shot while helping an alleged domestic violence victim move her belongings out of a home on the 200 block of Redwood Avenue. O’Sullivan lay at the scene for 44 minutes before being taken to the UC Davis Medical Center, where dozens of police officers gathered Wednesday night. She succumbed to her injuries at the hospital

The suspect, later identified as Adel Sambrano Ramos, surrendered and was taken into custody at about 1:54 a.m. Thursday, 14 hours after the initial domestic violence call from the house on Redwood Avenue. The five officers exchanged fire with the rifle-toting suspect for about eight hours, police said.

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A timeline of Wednesday’s shooting of a Sacramento police officer in north Sacramento, per reporting by Bee journalists and information provided by the Sacramento Police Department:

  • 11:43 a.m.: Sacramento police received a call about a disturbance between a man and a woman in the 200 block of Redwood Avenue.
  • Shortly after 3:30 p.m.: Police responded and made contact with a woman at the 3700 block of Esperanza Drive.
  • 5:41 p.m.: Police arrived at a residence in the 200 block of Redwood Avenue to help the woman gather her belongings.
  • 6:10 p.m.: Shots fired from a rifle, striking Officer Tara O’Sullivan in the backyard of a home.
  • 6:54 p.m.: Armored vehicle arrived at scene.
  • 6:59 p.m.: O’Sullivan transported to UC Davis Medical Center.
  • 8:15 p.m.: Orders are given to officers that lethal force can be used if the suspect comes out of the house armed; additional orders given by police commanders were that if the suspect tried to flee and was unarmed, officers would use less-than-lethal force to apprehend him.
  • 9:30 p.m.: Shots still being fired.
  • 12:51 a.m.: Police announce O’Sullivan has been killed.
  • 1:30 a.m.: Police say the suspect is surrendering.
  • 1:50 a.m.: Suspect walks out of the home with a cell phone in one hand and a shirt in the other.
  • 1:54 a.m.: Suspect in custody.

SPD hired O’Sullivan, a Pleasant Hill native and Sacramento State alumna, as a community service officer in January 2018. She entered the police academy as a recruit that July and graduated on December 20.

“To Tara’s parents and family, and Tara’s fellow officers, I am so sorry,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a prepared statement. “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.”

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All five officers who fired their guns during the shooting had three and five years experience with the department, according to the release. They have been placed on paid administrative leave per department policy.

The last Sacramento police officer to die in the line of duty was William Bean Jr., who was fatally shot after responding to a traffic stop in February 1999. Officer Natalie Corona of the Davis Police Department was killed in a similar fashion earlier this year.

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Theresa Clift covers Sacramento City Hall. Before joining The Bee in 2018, she worked as a local government reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Daily Press in Virginia and the Wausau Daily Herald in Wisconsin. She grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University.
Benjy Egel covers local restaurants and bars for The Sacramento Bee as well as general breaking news and investigative projects. A Sacramento native, he previously covered business for the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas.