Dispatcher names therapy dog 'Sully' after fallen Sacramento police officer

John Bacon

The Sacramento emergency dispatcher who handled the police channel during a long and deadly standoff has adopted a therapy dog – and named him after the fallen officer.

Police did not name the dispatcher but said he was on the line Wednesday when the shooting started and Officer Daniel Chipp reported, "We've got one down! Officer down! Officer down!"

Rookie Officer Tara O’Sullivan, 26, was shot multiple times, but she could not be rescued because of continuing gunfire until an armored vehicle arrived at the scene 45 minutes later. She died at a local hospital. An eight-hour standoff, punctuated by shooting, ensued before the suspect surrendered.

The dispatcher had been offered the night off but came to work anyway.

"He is a seasoned dispatcher, the best of the best, and hearing those two words, officer down, is every dispatchers worst nightmare," Sacramento police posted on Facebook. "He handled the channel, under extreme conditions, and maintained the calm. Saying we are proud of him does not do him justice."

The manager of the Front Street Shelter, a former police dispatcher, provides shelter dogs as therapy dogs to dispatchers and others after "critical incidents," the Facebook post says.

"To make a long story short, we would like you to meet Sullivan, Sully for short," the post says. "He was adopted by the dispatcher that worked the channel the night we lost Tara. We like to think they rescued each other."

Police Chief Daniel Hahn said the accused shooter, Adel Sambrano Ramos, was armed with two AR-15 style rifles assembled from parts to create assault weapons that are illegal in California.

Ramos, 45, made his first brief court appearance Monday wearing a four-inch gauze pad covering what officials said was a self-inflicted head injury. He faces a murder charge that could bring him the death penalty.

He’s also charged with attempting to murder her training officer and with possessing two illegal assault-style rifles. He did not enter a plea Monday.

Nine days before the shootout, a judge had issued an arrest warrant for failing to appear on a charge of battering a young woman. Chipp and O'Sullivan were among a group of officers sent to help a woman exit the premises the night the shooting took place.

A memorial service is set for Thursday for O'Sullivan, whom Hahn lauded as a dedicated officer.

"I've never seen her not smiling," Hahn said. "She's always been very enthusiastic and committed to being a police officer."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dispatcher names therapy dog 'Sully' after fallen Sacramento police officer