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Indian-American Sikh police officer's funeral set for October 2; shooter charged with capital murder

News Agencies | Updated on: 29 September 2019, 8:47 IST
Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal

Funeral services for the trailblazing Indian-American Sikh police officer, who was shot multiple times and killed in an "ambush-style" attack in the US State of Texas, has been set for October 2.

A pall of gloom has fallen over a shocked Houston community since the shooting of Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal during a mid-day traffic stop on Friday, and people have been lining up to pay their respects and show their support for the Houston County Sheriff Office Deputy. Dhaliwal, a 10-year veteran of the department, made national headlines when he was allowed to grow a beard and wear a turban on the job in 2015.

The first member of the Sikh community to join the sheriff's office, he's survived by his wife and three children. A law-enforcement ceremony and a Sikh religious ceremony have been scheduled for the 42-year-old Dhaliwal on Wednesday. A group of volunteers are tying black and blue ribbons to give to anyone who wants to show their support for law enforcement or Dhaliwal. Volunteers are standing in the street at the park to meet people at their cars and give them a ribbon or accept their donations. A GoFundme page has been established to help.

Two people were taken into custody, according to the sheriff's office. Local authorities identified 47-year-old Robert Solis as one of the suspects. Solis was charged with capital murder. The judge set no bond at his first court hearing. "The nature of the allegations involved in this case and the manner at which the murder was carried out indicate to me that Mr. Solis is in severe and immediate danger to the community at large," the judge said.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said his deputy, Dhaliwal, "was unable to recover from his injuries" after he was shot in the back of the head. Prosecutors say Solis and his passenger told investigators Dhaliwal pulled them over for running a stop sign. Dash-camera video shows Dhaliwal walk away from the suspect's vehicle, back towards his own. That's when police say Solis can be seen getting out of his car and running towards him, firing his gun several times.

According to the sheriff's office, the suspect was found inside a business about a quarter of a mile away from where Dhaliwal was shot. "A deputy observed that he looked a little nervous and put him in custody, and that did turn out to be our shooter," an official said, adding that the weapon believed to have been used to shoot Dhaliwal was recovered in the parking lot of the business. Saturday morning, it was revealed in court that Solis was caught on surveillance video trying to throw away the Glock 45 caliber semi automatic gun used in the murder.

Officials say Solis called friends after the shooting and told them he just shot a deputy and needed to be picked up. "I believe it was a suspect, he has a lengthy criminal history, on parole, probably knew he was going to go back to jail and did not want to go back to jail," the official said when asked about a possible motive.

"It was senseless." Solis has an extensive criminal history. He has been a wanted fugitive since 2017 for violating parole on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He also has past charges for aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and driving while intoxicated.

A woman, who is believed to be a passenger in the suspect's car, was also detained and placed into custody. "It was a total ambush by the suspect," the official said. "The deputy never had a chance."


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First published: 29 September 2019, 8:47 IST