GALT, Calif. — A police officer in the Sacramento County city of Galt was shot to death Tuesday by a suspect who police say then fired at a second officer before shooting and killing himself.
Officer Kevin Tonn, 35, was fatally shot around 11:30 a.m. during a physical altercation with the suspect, Galt police Lt. Jim Uptegrove said during an afternoon news conference. The officer was shot once and died after being taken to a hospital, Uptegrove said.
Tonn and other officers were responding to call about a burglary when a witness pointed to a suspect, and Tonn went to question the suspect, police said.
The suspect shot Tonn as the officer approached him, Uptegrove said.
“The suspect retrieved a handgun from his person, somewhere on his body, and fired one shot at Officer Tonn,” Uptegrove said.
The suspect fired several rounds at the second officer as other officers arrived at the scene. He then turned the gun on himself, Uptegrove said.
The coroner’s office will release the suspect’s name after his family has been notified, Sacramento County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Ramos said.
None of the other officers returned fire, and none were hurt, Uptegrove said.
Tonn, a 3½ year veteran of the Galt Police Department, was a “very well-respected, very proactive member of our department,” Uptegrove said.
Before joining the department he had worked as medic and firefighter in New York, Uptegrove said. Tonn was not married.
The investigation into the shooting was being handled by sheriff’s homicide detectives as a matter of protocol, and because the Galt Police Department is a small agency, Ramos said.
Chaplains from the sheriff’s office were called in to help console Tonn’s fellow officers, and deputies were assisting in patrolling the city. Galt is about 20 miles south of Sacramento and has a population of approximately 25,000.
“Anything they need from covering calls for service or assisting them in any way we can in this terrible tragedy, we’re going to be here for them, anything we can do,” Ramos said.
Meanwhile, a witness told Sacramento television station CBS13 (http://cbsloc.al/11yffCt ) that he heard gunfire and saw Tonn fall to the ground.
“I witnessed the officer struggling with the suspect . and I heard two, three shots fired,” Don Schmidt told the station.
The incident was the department’s first deadly on-duty officer shooting since it was formed in 1946, television station KCRA reported (http://bit.ly/UOm4Jb).
California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a statement expressing her condolences to Tonn’s family and to his colleagues.
“Officer Kevin Tonn’s death is a tragic loss that reminds us of the risks that law enforcement officers take every day to keep us safe,” Harris said. “His service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
The shooting comes less than two months after an animal control officer was shot and killed after being called to retrieve pets believed to have been left behind at a Galt home.
In that incident, authorities say 45-year-old Roy Marcum was killed when a man inside the home who had been served an eviction notice opened fire with a shotgun.