indica News Bureau –
Tragedy struck a day after Christmas in California when an Indian-origin police officer was shot at and killed by an unidentified illegal immigrant while he was conducting a traffic stop.
The shooting occurred at around 1 am on December 26, when Ronil Singh, 33, was gunned down after pulling over a driver he suspected was drunk in east Newman, Calif. – a town of about 10,000 people, some 70 miles east of San Jose.
Authorities told The Chicago Sun-Times that they identified but won’t yet name the man who killed Singh of Newman Police Department.
“This suspect is in our country illegally. He doesn’t belong here. He is a criminal,” Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, whose agency is leading the investigation, told reporters.
A manhunt is on and police officials believe that the attacker, who is armed and dangerous, is still in the area some 100 miles southeast of San Francisco.
Surveillance images show the attacker as a heavyset man with dark, close-crop hair, who took off in a silver or gray extended-cab Dodge Ram 1500 pickup. Police found the Dodge Ram about 13 hours later.
In photos provided by police, the suspect is wearing a zip-up hoodie with an Ecko logo on the sleeve and a thick silver chain around his neck. The California Highway Patrol described him as Hispanic.
Singh’s death comes amid a bitter political row over immigration, with President Donald Trump and Congress at an impasse over funding for a border wall that has forced a partial government shutdown.
Immediately after news broke that the gunman who killed Singh may have been in the country illegally, Trump tweeted: “…Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!”
In fact, Trump resurfaced a 2011 tweet from former President Barack Obama as he tried to persuade lawmakers to provide funding for his US-Mexico border wall.
Trump wrote: “I totally agree!” and shared a tweet from Obama calling on the US to solve the crisis of illegal immigration.
This is the second time that Trump has tweeted about an illegal immigrant. Just before the midterm elections, he had tweeted on October 31, blaming Democrats for “letting in” Luis Bracamontes – the man who killed two law enforcement officers in 2014 in the Sacramento area.
Singh, officials said, was an immigrant himself from Fiji, and had worked for the Newman Police Department since July 2011. He is survived by a wife and a five-month-old son.
“Our Newman Police family is devastated by the loss of Ronil,” Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson said in a release.
“He was an American patriot,” Richardson said, urging anyone with useful information to help investigators nab the killer.
“He was not born in this country but came to this country for one purpose — to serve this country,” he added.
California Governor Edmund Brown extended his condolences to Singh’s wife, their son and colleagues.
“Our hearts are with the entire community of Newman and law enforcement officers across the state who risk their lives every day to protect and serve the people of California,” Brown said.
Capitol flags in California will be flown at half-staff to honor Singh, the Governor’s office said.
According to reports, Singh is the 52th law enforcement officer to be shot and killed this year and the 11th officer fatality from the state of California in 2018.