Slain police officer an ‘American hero’
SAN FRANCISCO — A California police officer who was killed in the line of duty was hailed Saturday as a “Fijiborn American hero” who made the ultimate sacrifice for his adopted country.
At a funeral held for Cpl. Ronil Singh, mourners remembered the 33yearold as a hardworking immigrant who worked his way up to become an officer in the small town of Newman.
He “stood so much for what is right in our world and yet unfortunately was taken too soon from us by what is wrong in our world,” Modesto police Officer Jeff Harmon said at the service in a Modesto church.
He “probably more than anything else wanted to be home on Christmas night with his wife and his young son, but instead made a selfless choice to serve all of his community knowing that there are many more than just his own family that needed his protection that night.”
Singh was shot to death in the early hours of Dec. 26 after he pulled over a suspected drunk driver. The gunman fled, and a twodaylong manhunt led to the arrest of a man who authorities said was in the country illegally and was preparing to flee to Mexico.
Gustavo Arriaga Perez, also 33, has since been charged with murder.
The case has rekindled a debate over California’s sanctuary law that limits cooperation by local authorities with federal immigration authorities. President Donald Trump has cited Singh’s killing to call for tougher border security amid a fight with congressional Democrats over funding for a border wall. The impasse has forced a partial government shutdown.
At his funeral, however, Singh’s brother and colleagues focused on his achievements and playful personality.
Singh grew up in a Fijian farming town and emigrated to central California in 2003. He joined the 12member Newman police department in 2011 after attending police academy and serving as a volunteer, animal control officer and code enforcement officer at other agencies in the region.
“He told me he came to this country with one purpose, and that purpose was to become a police officer,” Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson said.
— Police officers gather Saturday for the funeral of slain Newman police Cpl. Ronil “Ron” Singh in Modesto.