Police officer fatally shot while helping a woman retrieve her belongings from a home

A gunman killed a Sacramento, California, police officer, fresh out of the academy, who was trying to help a woman retrieve belongings from her home, police said early Thursday.

Officer Tara O’Sullivan, 26, had just graduated from the police academy after studying at Sacramento State University, officials said.

“We are devastated tonight,” Deputy Chief Dave Peletta said at a news conference. “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.”

Police were called Wednesday about a disturbance between a man and a woman, according to Sacramento police Sgt. Vance Chandler. They met the woman involved and accompanied her back to the home to gather some of her things, Chandler said.

While officers were at the scene, O’Sullivan was shot, according to Peletta. The suspect, armed with a rifle, continued shooting, and the other officers on the scene had to take cover.

Sacramento police brought in an armored vehicle to rescue O’Sullivan, who was taken to a hospital where she died, Chandler said.

The suspect “surrendered and was safely taken into custody,” Sacramento police said Thursday morning in a tweet, adding that investigators continued to process the scene.

The woman who had been involved in the earlier disturbance was able to get out safely, according to CNN affiliate KCRA.

Before the academy, O’Sullivan studied child development at Sacramento State and was in the first graduating class of the Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars’ Program, which emphasizes inclusion and cultural competence in law enforcement, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said.

“Every day, in service to all of us in Sacramento, our police officers leave home knowing there is a possibility they will never return,” Steinberg said. “Today that horrible possibility became the devastating reality.”

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