The suspect in Wednesday’s fatal shooting of a California police officer has been identified by officials as an undocumented immigrant, and he remains at large. His name and other specific details haven’t yet been revealed.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, officials said Newman Police Officer Ronil Singh pulled over a gray Dodge pickup truck for suspected drunken driving and having paper license plates in the early hours of Wednesday. He could then be heard saying “shots fired, I’ve been hit” on a police radio.
According to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, officials responded to the scene, located on Merced Street and Eucalyptus Avenue in Newman, at 12:57 a.m. They subsequently discovered their fellow officer suffering from “multiple gunshot wounds,” and the suspect gone.
Singh, a native of Fiji who worked at the Newman Police Department since 2011, was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, officials said.
The pickup truck was discovered at a trailer home park on River Road, which is reportedly a short distance from Newman, following a tip provided to police, officials announced via Facebook on Wednesday afternoon. Newman is a small town of just over 11,000 residents located approximately 80 miles southeast of Sacramento.
Police said they were searching a home at the park after obtaining a search warrant, though the identity of the home’s resident is not yet known. Authorities seized the pickup truck at the scene in search of “clues about the owner,” according to CBS 13.
The sheriff’s department released multiple photos of the suspected cop killer Thursday night, adding that his identity has yet to be verified.
“We can confirm that these are photographs of the man who murdered Corporal Ronil Singh. We CANNOT, however, confirm that the correct name or birth date is being put out,” the department wrote via Facebook. “Once we have confirmed his name and date of birth, we will officially release it.”
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson announced at a news conference Thursday that Singh fought for his life, and said gunfire was exchanged. However, it isn’t believed the suspect, who the sheriff said was in the country illegally, was shot.
“He [the suspect] doesn’t belong here. He is a criminal,” the sheriff said.
Through tears, Christianson told reporters the “department is hurting, and struggling” through the grief of losing Singh.
“You have to understand this was not supposed to happen here. I’ve been to too many of these funerals, and I never thought…ever, that I’d have to be doing this. I don’t want to be here today. I would give anything not to.”
Chief Randy Richardson described the fallen officer, who was the father of a newborn baby, as an “American Patriot” who served the country and worked hard at all he achieved in life.
Anyone with information pertaining to the incident is urged to contact Detective Michael Fisher at 209-525-7083 or dispatch at 209-552-2468. You may report tips anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636.
This is a developing story. CrimeOnline will provide updates as information becomes available.
[Feature photo: Suspected killer/Merced Police Department, Ronil Singh/Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department]