America’s first turbaned Sikh cop shot dead in Texas

Texas: A 42-year-old Indian-American Sikh police officer, the first turbaned Sikh cop to serve Texas, died on Friday aftee he was shot multiple times while managing a traffic stop. India has reacted to the killing, with Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar condoling his death.

Sandeep Dhaliwal, a 10-year veteran of the Texas police department, was attacked when he stopped a vehicle with a man and woman inside and one of them got out and shot him “ambush-style” at least twice in a “ruthless, cold-blooded way”, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters. Dhaliwal was the deputy sheriff of Harris County.

“We immediately looked at his dashcam to see what the suspect looked like and took a photo of the suspect on the scene with their phone and immediately got that out to our intel people,” Gonzalez said.

A 47-year-old suspect, Robert Solis, has been taken into custody and “charged with the capital murder”, the police said. It is not yet clear if it was a hate crime.

The department is “heartbroken to lose a hero, a leader in this violent tragic manner,” Gonzalez said while speaking to reporters. “There are just no words to convey our pain, our heartbreak, our anger as well… we are human beings. But we are going to channel that to continue to serve the way Deputy Dhaliwal did… with integrity,” he added, paying a moving tribute.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar paid condolence to the Indian-American cop this morning. “Deeply grieved to learn of the shooting of Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, a Sikh Indian-American officer in Houston. We have just visited that city. My condolences to his family,” he tweeted.

Tributes also poured in on social media soon after Mr Dhaliwal’s death as his colleagues remembered his 10 years of service.

Texas Senator John Cornyn shared a post of the police department, recalling how Dhaliwal “beamed with pride” when he was told four years ago that he could wear his Sikh turban and a beard while on duty. “Officer Dhaliwal was the first Sikh in Texas to wear his turban while on duty. Earlier today, he was tragically shot and killed in the line of duty. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fellow officers. Rest In Peace, Sandeep,” Cornyn wrote in his tribute.

“Earlier today, Harris County Deputy Sheriff Sandeep Dhaliwal was shot & killed while conducting a traffic stop. We will #neverforget his 10 years of dedicated service and sacrifice. Our thoughts & prayers are with @HCSOTexas & his loved ones,” the New York Police Department’s Counterterrorism department tweeted.

“We are heartbroken and mourn with the @HCSOTexas family, the Sikh community, but especially Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal’s family. We stand with you in your time of grief and disbelief. Rest in peace, our friend,” FBI Houston tweeted.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also tweeted his tribute. “The killing of Harris Co Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal is especially saddening. A groundbreaking member of law enforcement who patrolled while wearing the outward signs of his Sikh faith, put his religion’s imperative of selfless service on display for all to see,” he wrote.

Several videos were also shared by the police department remembering how Dhaliwal touched many lives while serving the people.