September 28, 2019 – In Breaking News – The Washington Post
One of the first sheriff’s deputies in the country to wear a traditional Sikh turban on duty was fatally shot from behind Friday while conducting a traffic stop in the Houston area, authorities said.
Sandeep Dhaliwal, a 10-year veteran of law enforcement, was shot multiple times by one of two people in the stopped car, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters.
“He wore the turban. He represented his community with integrity, respect and pride,” Gonzalez said. “And again, he was respected by all.”
Dhaliwal, 41, was returning to his patrol car around 1 p.m. when a man got out of the stopped car with a pistol and shot him “in a coldblooded manner, ambush-style,” Gonzalez said.
He said he did not know the reason for the stop or the motive for the shooting.
First responders brought Dhaliwal to a hospital, where he was declared dead around 4 p.m.
(The Sikh community in Houston and around the world is mourning the loss of Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, the trailblazing sheriff’s deputy in Harris County, Texas, who was shot and killed during a traffic stop Friday. Courtesy of CNN and YouTube. Posted on Sep 29, 2019.)
Robert Solis, 47, was charged with capital murder in connection with the killing, the sheriff’s office announced Friday.
He had an active parole-violation warrant in a January 2017 case in which he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
A woman whom police believed to be a passenger in the stopped car was also in custody Friday, the sheriff’s office said.
Officials said they had confiscated the gun they believed Solis used in the shooting.
Dhaliwal, whom his colleagues described as a “trailblazer,” owned a lucrative trucking business before he sold it to join the sheriff’s department, said Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia.
Dhaliwal wanted to build a bridge between the department and the Houston area’s large Sikh community because of a prior “mishap,” Garcia said.
Garcia did not offer details about that incident, but The Washington Post previously reported that he reached out to Sikhs in 2009 because of a confrontation with a Sikh family the prior year.
(Houston and law enforcement aid goodbye to Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal today with a procession, two funeral services and a 21-gun salute. Courtesy of KHOU 11 and YouTube. Posted on Oct 2, 2019.)
When the family called to report a burglary, deputies reportedly were alarmed to see the men wearing beards and turbans and carrying small daggers, which Sikhs sometimes wear at their waists as a reminder of their faith’s martial history.
The deputies called for more officers and interrogated the family, The Post reported.
A husband and a father of three children, Dhaliwal joined the Harris County Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer and worked his way up.
He was the first adherent of Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that originated in India, to become a deputy.
The Harris County sheriff in 2015 announced that Dhaliwal would be allowed to wear his religion’s beard and turban while on patrol.
At the time, only police departments in the District of Columbia and Riverside, Calif., had made that accommodation.
(Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal was shot during a traffic stop and later died. He was a 10-year veteran with a “heart of gold,” and a big part of the community. Courtesy of KHOU 11 and YouTube. Posted on Sep 27, 2019.)