HOUSTON: An Indian-American Sikh police officer was shot dead in northwest Harris County in Houston. Sandeep Dhaliwal was a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office was shot multiple times from behind in a “ruthless, cold-blooded way” during a traffic stop in the US state of Texas, a senior official said Saturday.
Ed Gonzalez said Sandeep Dhaliwal, a 10-year veteran of the department, 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.”
The shooter was seen running to a shopping centre nearby, officials said.
Investigators were able to identify what the shooter looked like by watching Sandeep Dhaliwal’s dashcam video.
“They immediately looked at his dashcam to see what the suspect looked like, they took a photo of the suspect on the scene with their phone and immediately got that out to our intel people,” Ed Gonzalez said.
The vehicle the shooter was driving was found and is being investigated, officials said.
The gunman and the woman were taken into custody, they said.
Sandeep Dhaliwal was married and a father of three children.
“Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal was a trailblazer. He was an example for many. He represented his community with respect and pride,” said Commissioner Adrian Garcia.
“Deputy Dhaliwal is known to everybody as someone with a giving heart,” Gonzalez said. “Post (Hurricane) Harvey, when we needed the help most, he brought an 18-wheeler of people that he gathered together, that came all the way from California to deliver goods to our community.”
Since 2015, Sandeep Dhaliwal was the “history-making” police officer in Texas to serve while keeping his Sikh articles of faith, including a turban and beard. He was allowed to wear the turban and beard while patrolling the streets in order to bolster cultural diversity.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, released a statement on Friday, saying “this tragic loss is a grave reminder of the risks that our law enforcement officers face every single day.”