'She was living her values,' Sacramento mourns loss of young police officer

SACRAMENTO (KGO) -- A flag at half-staff outside Sacramento Police Headquarters. Now add yellow crime scene tape mixed with blue in tribute, a few miles to the north.

Each element-- an indication of tragedy.

RELATED: East Bay community mourns fallen Sacramento Police Officer Tara O'Sullivan

"As we see here, when somebody snaps you can't stop somebody in the moment," said the neighbor holding court. He knew very little, just like the rest of us. Only that

Officer Tara O'Sullivan, 26, died from gunfire Wednesday night while helping a woman leave a home.

Police say O'Sullivan remained on the ground in the yard while the suspect, Adel Sambrano Ramos, fired at officers to keep them from rescuing her.

"She was living her values even in this tragedy and for that she has the highest honor and respect in my mind," said Melissa Repa, who considered Officer O'Sullivan, "...like family," from their dealings at Sacramento State University.

While Officer O'Sullivan grew up in the East Bay, she attended Sacramento State's Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars program. At a press conference staff and fellow students broke into tears while remembering a bright young woman who graduated from their first class.

"Today is one of the saddest days I have ever had. I feel as if I lost a daughter," said University President Robert S. Nelsen.

"She was Strong. She was kind," said Melissa Repa, who worked with O'Sullivan when she entered the program. "She wanted to communicate with others. She had a sense of belonging with everyone, but was also very tough."

It has been 20 years since Sacramento lost a police officer to gunfire. That feels like a long time around here. Add how Officer O'Sullivan was so young, and it's even harder for all the potential, now lost.

RELATED: Police ID suspect accused of killing Sacramento police officer while on domestic violence call

"The service that she gave the community and the difference she made in her time? It was profound," said Repa.

Sacramento State plans to create a scholarship and an academic chair in honor of Tara O'Sullivan. They also plan a memorial vigil, but have not announced when.

Sacramento Police do not plan to speak publicly, today, about the facts of this investigation.
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