SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Over the past six months, two recent Sacramento Police Academy graduates have been killed in the line of duty.
Natalie Corona, who graduated the academy in June 2018, was gunned down in Davis last January during a traffic stop.
Tara O'Sullivan, who completed the academy in December 2018, was shot and killed in north Sacramento while responding to a domestic disturbance call on June 19.
"When I was told it was Officer O’Sullivan, I was shocked because I just saw her last week in the locker room," said Berlinda Cato. Cato, who graduated from the academy this week, first met O'Sullivan in training. "She was talking to us about patrol, how much she was loving it. Just words of encouragement to get us excited for graduating and hitting the streets soon."
As O'Sullivan was finishing the academy late last year, Cato was starting the pre-academy.
"She no longer needed the recruit uniform and she was like, ‘Well, hey, we’re the same size, do you need any more?’ And I was like, ‘Sure!’ So she gave me two of her uniforms," Cato said.
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O'Sullivan and Cato would only meet a few times, but they did share an innate bond: two young women who decided to join law enforcement and serve their community.
"It almost seemed unreal to me that she was gone," Cato said. "And we went to the hospital (Wednesday) night and we were just there for support for each other and her family and to just pay our respects."
The day after Tara’s death, Belinda received her badge and is now preparing to follow in the footsteps of two young female recruits whose lives were cut down in the line of duty.
"It’s almost like more motivation to keep doing what I’m doing because I want to help people and I want to keep people safe," Cato said. "If that means that I could potentially get hurt doing it then that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make."