Slain California officer lay wounded for 45 minutes as gunman shot at first responders
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A rookie Sacramento police officer was shot during a domestic violence call and lay wounded for about 45 minutes as the gunman kept officers at bay with bursts of fire, authorities said Thursday. She was finally rescued with an armored vehicle but died at a hospital.
“We are devastated,” Deputy Chief Dave Peletta said. “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.”
Officer Tara O’Sullivan, 26, was shot Wednesday evening while helping a woman collect her belongings to leave her home. As officers swarmed the area, the gunman continued firing in a standoff that lasted about eight hours before he surrendered.
Stephen Nasta, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former inspector with the New York Police Department, said taking 45 minutes to reach a wounded officer is “unacceptable.”
If officers couldn’t immediately get an armored police vehicle to the scene, he said, they should have commandeered an armored bank vehicle, bus or heavy construction equipment.
“If there’s somebody shot, lying on the ground, you have to do everything you can,” Nasta said.
If no such vehicle was available, he said he would expect police to use a diversionary tactic such as firing at the home, setting off smoke grenades or breaking a door or window in another part of the home to distract the gunman as other officers rescued the wounded comrade. Police said five other officers fired their weapons during the incident.
Police identified the suspect as Adel Sambrano Ramos, 45, of Sacramento.
His younger brother, Orlando Ramos, told The Associated Press that Adel Ramos is estranged from his family and has a long record that includes convictions for driving under the influence, drug use and domestic violence.
“It’s the drugs, it’s always been the drugs,” Orlando Ramos said. “If he goes to prison for the rest of his life, I could care less.
“I’m a lot more heartbroken for seeing the pain in my mother and for the police officer and her family than I am for him going to prison,” he said.
He said he was sorry the shooting occurred and sent his condolences to the officer’s family.
O’Sullivan graduated from the police academy in December and was working with a training officer. She was expected to be on her own in a couple of weeks, Peletta said.
She and other officers arrived at the home at 5:41 p.m. A half-hour later the first shots were fired, and O’Sullivan was hit, authorities said. The gunman continued firing a rifle-type weapon. At 6:54 p.m., additional officers responded with an armored vehicle to rescue O’Sullivan.
“Our officers maintained cover in safe positions until we were able to get an armored vehicle in the area,” Sgt. Vance Chandler said.
Five minutes later, O’Sullivan was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, where she died.
The woman she was helping was not hurt. Orlando Ramos said she was Adel Ramos’ girlfriend.
O’Sullivan grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated last year from Sacramento State University with a degree in child development.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg said on Facebook that O’Sullivan was in the first graduating class of a groundbreaking program at Sacramento State that “emphasizes the importance of inclusion and cultural competence for future law enforcement leaders — of which Tara undoubtedly would have been.”