Indian-origin police officer killed in California
New York, Dec 27: An Indian-origin police officer was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman while he was conducting a traffic stop in the US state of California. Corporal Ronil Singh, 33, of the Newman Police Department was shot and killed during a traffic stop just before 1:00 AM (local time) on December 26.
Singh had called off on a traffic stop in Newman and a few moments later he called out "shots fired" over the radio.
Multiple agencies responded to assist and Singh was found at the scene with gunshot wounds, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department said in a Facebook post. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, it said.
It said the suspect had fled the scene in his vehicle before the police arrived. The department is leading the investigation and have released surveillance photographs of the suspect, asking for any information on the identity of the attacker.
Police recovered the suspect's vehicle but had not positively identified the man by Wednesday night. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) described him as Hispanic. "Suspect is considered armed and dangerous and may be in possession of a firearm," it said.
Singh was a more than 7-year veteran of the Newman Police Department and was assigned as a canine officer. Prior to joining the Newman Police Department, he served with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department. Corporal Singh is survived by his wife, Anamika, and 5-month old son.
A report in KCRA3 news said that Singh was a native of Fiji and had immigrated to America. It quoted Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department spokesman Raj Singh as saying that he knew the slain officer.
"He was living the American Dream. He immigrated here from the Fiji Islands, just like my parents did, and was definitely enjoying the American Dream," Deputy Raj Singh said.
Tributes and condolence messages for Singh poured from police departments and officials across the country. 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. In honour of Singh, Capitol flags in California will be flown at half-staff, the Governor's office said.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner James P O'Neill tweeted that the entire New York Police Department is "thinking of the family, friends and colleagues of Corporal Ronil Singh… of the Newman Police Department (CA), who was murdered early this morning while conducting a traffic stop — just hours after taking Christmas photos with his wife and son."
The New York Police Department, in a separate tweet, said that after years of service with the Newman Police Department, "Singh was shot & killed while conducting a traffic stop shortly after Christmas day. We mourn the loss of this hero and send our condolences to his friends, family, and colleagues."
The Indian Officers' Society at the NYPD expressed sadness at Singh's death, tweeting that Singh was killed in the line of duty and recalled his service to the community. Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson said the Newman Police family is devastated by Singh’s death.