Father of slain Sacramento Officer Tara O’Sullivan praises department

With their eyes closed, Kelly and Denis O’Sullivan, the parents of slain Sacramento Police officer T
Kelley and Denis O’Sullivan, the parents of slain Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan, hold hands during a news conference in Sacramento on Tuesday.
(Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

The father of a slain California officer says he will never blame authorities for her death after it took 45 minutes to rescue her as a man with a high-powered rifle kept them at bay.

Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan was helping a woman remove her things from a home last week when she was shot. The shooter kept firing, and police officers had to wait 45 minutes for an armored vehicle to arrive before they could reach her.

O’Sullivan later died at UC Davis Medical Center. A memorial service for her is scheduled for Thursday in Roseville.

It would take police officers nearly eight hours to capture the suspect, 45-year-old Adel Sambrano Ramos. Prosecutors have charged him with murder.


Prosecutors allege Ramos had two AR-15-style rifles that are illegal in California. Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn has said patrol car doors and protective vests would not have protected officers from bullets fired from the high-powered rifle.

Former New York Police Department Inspector Stephen Nasta criticized the department’s response, saying officers could have created a diversion or commandeered an armored car, bus or heavy construction equipment to reach O’Sullivan sooner.

But Tuesday, Denis O’Sullivan said any notion that police officers are responsible for his daughter’s death is “extremely offensive and hurtful.”

“We are here today due to the negative and misleading and hurtful information that has been spread about our Sacramento police department and family,” Denis O’Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday. “In no way will we ever place blame on any of the officers who displayed such professionalism and courage during this tragedy.”


O’Sullivan’s mother, Kelley O’Sullivan, stood behind her husband of 26 years while clutching a Sacramento Police Department flag. They were surrounded by more than 50 police officers, including people who trained their daughter.

O’Sullivan had been on the job six months and was still completing her training when she was killed.

“We know that this police department provided the best training for Tara,” Denis O’Sullivan said. “For that we are always grateful.”

Get our Essential California newsletter