Tears and shock as Houston’s first Sikh cop is fatally gunned down ‘from behind’ during a traffic stop sparking emotional scenes from his colleagues who pay emotional tribute to 10-year veteran Sandeep Dhaliwal
Harris County Sheriff’s deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, 42, was shot dead Friday afternoon in Cypress, Texas during a routine traffic stop
Robert Solis, 47, is suspected of being the driver who ‘shot him [from behind], in a very ruthless, cold-blooded way’ during a traffic stop
Dashboard camera captured video showed Dhaliwal speaking with the driver in what appeared to be a conversational tone with ‘no combat, no arguing’, police said
Shortly after a deputy found and arrested a nervous man matching the description of the shooter in a business at a nearby strip shopping center
A woman who was also in the car was taken into custody
The suspect Solis has a criminal history including being sentenced to 20 years for aggravated assault in 2002 – he was released 2014 and violated parole in 2017 accused of possessing a prohibited weapon
The 10-year-year veteran of the sheriff’s dept and father-of-three has been hailed a ‘hero’ and ‘trailblazer’ in the Sikh community, by his colleagues and superiors
Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement on Friday saying he and his wife Celia joined ‘Texans in mourning the loss’ of the deputy who helped hurricane victims
Dashboard camera captured video showed Dhaliwal speaking with the driver Robert Solis, in what appeared to be a conversational tone in a non-contentious situation. Still Solis shot him in the back of the head
Deputy Dhaliwal had stopped a vehicle with two people inside when one of the occupants was able to leave the vehicle, approach the deputy from behind ‘basically just shot him in a very ruthless, cold-blooded way,’ twice, Harris County Sheriff Gonzalez said.
He added the execution was carried out ‘ambush-style’ and a female witness who was in her yard at the time of the shooting said she saw the suspect flee in a getaway vehicle.
Dhaliwal’s dashboard camera captured video showing Dhaliwal speaking with the driver in what appeared to be a conversational tone with ‘no combat, no arguing,’ Sheriff’s Maj. Mike Lee, who arrived on the scene after the shooting, said.
The driver’s door was opened at one point, and Dhaliwal shut it as the driver remained in the vehicle.
When Dhaliwal turned to walk back to his patrol car, the driver steps from the car ‘almost immediately running with a gun already out,’ Lee said about the video.
The driver shot the deputy from behind, hitting him in the back of the head. The driver got back in his car and drove away.
A deputy a short time later found and arrested a nervous man matching the description of the driver in a business at a nearby strip shopping center, Lee said.
The weapon was found on the scene of the shopping plaza.
A woman believed to have been a passenger in the car also was taken into custody.
Solis was on parole until 2022 for the aggravated kidnapping conviction in 2002.
Shortly after the killing, a sheriff’s deputy arrested a nervous man matching the description of the shooter in a business at a nearby strip shopping center later on Friday
Law enforcement officers and others mourn after escorting the body of Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences
The slain officer ‘beamed with pride’ was he was allowed to wear his turban, police remembered Friday
Dhaliwal worked with the nonprofit to organize the donation of supplies for first responders after Hurricane Harvey devastated the county.
He also went to Puerto Rico to help with relief after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
‘He was a hero. Deputy Dhaliwal was a trailblazer,’ Gonzalez said. ‘There are no words to speak to how heartbroken we are, how devastated.’
Many law enforcement colleagues cried as they escorted his body to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences on Friday.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement on Friday saying he and his wife Celia joined ‘Texans in mourning the loss’ of the deputy.
‘It is with heavy hearts that we send our deepest sympathies to the deputy’s family, friends, and his brothers and sisters in law enforcement,’ Gov. Abbott said.
‘This tragic loss is a grave reminder of the risks that our law enforcement officers face every single day. I thank the officers who bravely responded to apprehend the suspect, and I assure you that the state of Texas is committed to bringing this killer to justice.
‘Cecilia and I ask all Texans to join us in praying for the family and the entire Harris County Sheriff’s Department.’
‘Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal beamed with pride when the then-Sheriff announced he could wear his Sikh turban and a beard while on duty’, the department remembered in a tweet Friday.
He told an audience at the time: ‘As a Sikh American, I felt the need to represent the Sikh community in law enforcement. It will give me the chance to open up the conversation.’
Garcia said he did it: ‘When he knew that the Harris County Sheriff’s Office needed someone like him to build bridges between the Sikh community and the sheriff’s office because of a mishap that had happened prior.’
Photo [left], Dhaliwal gets a blue ribbon pinned to him during a vigil at the Chevron station in Houston, on Aug 29, 2015. [right], Deputy Dhaliwal consoles a child at the spot where Harris County deputy Darren Goforth was shot and killed the night before while he was refueling his vehicle
Dhaliwal is the second Texas deputy to die while making a traffic stop this year.
El Paso County Deputy Peter Herrera was fatally shot during a March traffic stop in San Elizario, about 25 miles southeast of El Paso.
Both occupants of the car were charged with capital murder and await trial.
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