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Galt police mourn officer fatally shot responding to burglary

The 35-year-old Galt police officer killed while responding to a burglary was hailed as a "very well-respected and proactive member" of the small Sacramento County town's police force.

The officer was identified as Kevin Tonn, a 3 1/2-year department veteran who worked the canine program, according to the Galt Police Department. Tonn graduated from the Sacramento Sheriff's Academy in January 2009 and was hired by Galt police eight months later.

"His loss is extremely tragic," a department statement said. "He will be deeply missed by the department and entire Galt community."

Tonn was one of the officers called to a burglary at a home in the 200 block of F Street shortly before 11:20 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said. By the time police arrived, the suspected burglar was gone, but as officers interviewed witnesses, they spotted a man walking along nearby railroad tracks.

Tonn went to talk to the man, authorities said, and a "physical struggle ensued."

Tonn radioed for "emergency cover," Sacramento sheriff's Sgt. Jason Ramos said, but the man drew a handgun and shot Tonn before backup could arrive.

The man then fired "several more shots" at a second officer before turning the gun on himself, Galt police said. The second officer was not injured; the suspect died.

Tonn was taken to an area hospital but died of his injury.

Neither Tonn nor the other responding officer fired their weapons, authorities told the Sacramento Bee. Tonn's police dog, Yaro, was inside his patrol car during the incident.

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris issued a statement calling Tonn's death a "tragic loss that reminds us of the risks that law enforcement officers take every day to keep us safe.

“His service and sacrifice will never be forgotten," Harris said. "Our hearts go out to Officer Tonn’s family and friends, and to the Galt Police Department."

It was initially reported that Tonn was the first Galt police officer to die in the line of duty. He was actually the second: The Sacramento Bee reported an officer died in 1989 after suffering a heart attack.

The name of the man who shot Tonn has not been released by authorities. Ramos said investigators had determined he was not the suspected burglar wanted in the original call. The original suspect has since been identified, Ramos said.

But because the man matched the suspected burglar's description and he was seen near the home that was burglarized, Ramos said it "behooved" Tonn and other officers to contact the man as part of their investigation.

"Unfortunately he happened to be a bad guy with a gun," Ramos said. "It was a perfect storm of bad circumstances."

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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— Kate Mather

Follow Kate Mather on Twitter or Google+.

 
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