AT approximately 1 a.m. on Wednesday (December 26), Corporal Ronil Singh of the Newman Police Department, California, was shot and killed during a traffic stop.
Singh conducted a traffic stop on the pickup truck. He gave a description of the vehicle, and said that the truck had paper plates from AR auto. Just after that, the officer called in for shots fired.
Media reports say several deputies from Stanislaus and Merced counties responded. Singh was found lying on the ground. He was taken to a nearby hospital but died from his injuries.
A statewide manhunt was launched for Singh’s killer and on Friday it was announced that that he had been arrested as he tried to flee back to Mexico, where he lived before illegally crossing into the U.S.
The suspect, Gustavo Perez Arriaga, was arrested on a murder warrant in a house near Bakersfield, about 320 kilometers southeast of the scene of the shooting.
As a SWAT team prepared to raid the house, Perez Arriaga came out with his hands up and surrendered.
A news report said that he was taken back to Stanislaus County in the slain officer’s handcuffs.
Perez Arriaga crossed the border in Arizona several years ago and had worked a variety of jobs as a laborer. He also had two prior arrests for driving while intoxicated, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said.
The 33-year-old Mexico native had gang affiliations and multiple Facebook pages with different names, the sheriff said. He blamed California’s sanctuary law for preventing local authorities from reporting the suspect to federal immigration officials for previous arrests.
Singh, a K-9 officer, had been with the Newman Police Department since July of 2011 and was only 33 years old. He leaves behind a wife and a five-month-old son.
According to media reports, Singh’s parents and brother who live in Fiji headed to California.
The Stanislaus Sworn Deputies Association has established a Corporal Ronil Singh, Newman PD Memorial Fund. Donations can be made in person at any West America Bank Branch to the Corporal Ronil Singh Memorial Fund or online at https://www.stanislaussworn.com/donation.html
Police Chief Randy Richardson said: “He was an American patriot. He was not born in this country but came to this country for one purpose — to serve this country.”
English was not his first language — it was his third — and Singh put himself through speech classes because he wanted his radio traffic to be understood, CNN reported.
Singh’s K9 dog, Sam, was with him the night he was shot, and will remain with his family — and be retired.