Hundreds Attend Funeral of ‘American Hero’ Gunned Down After Stopping Illegal Immigrant

January 6, 2019 Updated: January 6, 2019

A police motorcade carrying the body of Corporal Ronil “Ron” Singh pulled into the Lakewood Memorial Park—the officer’s final resting place—on Jan. 5.

Raindrops hung like tears from the thin-blue-line decorations outside the cemetery, while officers decked out dress uniforms and white gloves saluted their fallen colleague.

Mourners quietly wiped away tears while bagpipes played. A 21-gun salute—also know as a three-volley salute—was fired, which is a traditional battle custom to indicate ceasefires where each side would clear and care for the dead.

Earlier, hundreds of people attended Singh’s funeral service at the Crosspoint Community Church in Modesto to remember and pay tribute to the “American hero.” Singh was shot and killed the day after Christmas when he pulled over an illegal alien suspected of drunk driving.

Family members and colleagues recounted stories about the 33-year-old officer, remembering his fun-loving personality and desire to protect the community. Singh’s casket, which sat below the church’s altar, was draped by an American flag.

Modesto police officer Jeff Harmon said Singh, who was a member of the Newman, California, Police Department, was a hard-working officer who chose to serve his community instead of being at home with his wife and 5-month-old son on Christmas night.

“[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,” Harmon said at the service.

Singh was shot dead in the early hours of Dec. 26. The gunman fled, and a two-day-long manhunt led to the arrest of a man who authorities said was in the country illegally and was preparing to flee to Mexico.

Gustavo Perez Arriaga, 32, a Mexican national was arrested and has since been charged with the officer’s murder. He appeared in court Jan. 2, where his attorneys questioned his mental competency and claimed that he needed a mental-health evaluation. Arriaga had two prior DUI arrests.

Singh Always Wanted to Be Police Officer

Singh grew up in a Fijian farming town. His brother Rajnil “Reggie” Singh told the church service that in 2003 his family had legally migrated to California.

“People use to ask us why, why America?” Reggie Singh said. “Future’s beautiful. Opportunity. For Ron’s case, he wanted to be law enforcement, [a] police officer in America.”

He said that his brother wanted to be a police officer in America because he always thought “the USA has the best police officers,” and added that his brother was inspired to become a law enforcement officer after watching the TV show “Cops.”

Ultimately, Singh fulfilled his dream of becoming an officer. He joined the Newman Police Department in 2011 after attending the police academy. He became a K-9 officer before being promoted to the rank of corporal. His dog, Sam, was in the procession behind the hearse. Before he joined the department, he served as a volunteer, animal control officer and code enforcement officer at other area agencies.

“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. “He told me about all the pride he had in America, and how much it meant to get this opportunity.”

Modesto police Detective Ra Pouv said his friend and colleague earned a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice two years ago, with the goal of becoming a sergeant.

“Ronil and I are both immigrants to a country we truly love, and we both view serving our country and community through law enforcement as important to who we are,” said Pouv, who is from Cambodia. “It is our way of giving back to a country that embraced us and our family.”

Singh’s widow, Anamika, was at the funeral but didn’t address the mourners; his 5-month-old son could be heard cooing during the service.

Trump Phones Widow, Police Department

President Donald Trump called Singh’s widow and his police department to offer his condolences and support.

“The president praised Officer Singh’s service to his fellow citizens, offered condolences, and commended law enforcement’s rapid investigation, response, and apprehension of the suspect,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Singh’s brother told Fox News that Anamika had a “good conversation” with the president.

Unlike Trump, most California lawmakers haven’t commented on the murder or reached out to the family of the fallen officer.

Reporter Zachary Stieber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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