SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A group of female police officers marched into the grassy outdoor theater at Sacramento State, abruptly stopped and turned toward the stage.
"If seeing hundreds of female police officers doesn't touch you, you don't have a heart," said the school's president, Robert Nelsen.
This emotional scene set the mood for Sunday night's candlelight vigil to honor Sacramento Police Officer Tara O'Sullivan, killed in the line of duty Wednesday night.
Nearly 300 people -- including O'Sullivan's parents, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, uniformed officers from thoughout the capital region, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and members of the Sacramento City Council -- gathered outside the university library to remember the 26-year-old and share stories about her.
"Thank you to her parents for loaning her to me for four years," Nelsen began. "Thank you for raising a hero."
O'Sullivan was responding to a domestic violence call with another officer Wednesday afternoon when she was attacked by a gunman with a rifle, The Bee previously reported. She died that night after being transported to a hospital, and the gunman continued to hold off officers for hours.
At the vigil, lifelong friends, police academy classmates, a professor and co-workers from a restaurant at Sac State where she had worked all tearfully spoke about O'Sullivan's strength and character.
Sierra Cody said she had been friends with O'Sullivan for over 20 years.
"We all hope to be a sliver of the amazing, beautiful person she was," she said while fighting back tears.
O'Sullivan graduated from Sacramento State in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in child development, one of the first four students to complete the newly created Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars program. She went on to Sacramento's police academy and started her service after graduation on Dec. 20, 2018.