Scores of community members, police officers and officials mourned the Texas deputy who was shot and killed Friday during a routine traffic stop, remembering him as a committed public servant and a pioneer.
Officer Sandeep Dhaliwal was the first member of the Sikh community to join Harris County's Sheriff's Office. In 2015, he became the county's first sworn law enforcement officer to wear a turban.
Dhaliwal was walking back to his patrol car in Houston when a suspect allegedly "caught him by surprise" and shot him in the back of the head "in a very cold-blooded manner,” Gonzalez said at a press conference. Robert Solis, 47, was arrested and charged with capital murder following the incident.
An outpouring of support flooded the internet after news broke of Dhaliwal’s death.
In a now-viral tweet, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office tweeted an old video of Dhaliwal that a resident sent them. Dhaliwal, who was in uniform, could be seen playing with the resident’s son and jokingly letting the child handcuff him.
A Harris County resident sent us a video of fallen Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal.
“He laughed and joked with all of us, and left a bright impression on my son who is deaf,” she said.
Deputy Dhaliwal is an incredible loss not only to our HCSO family but to the entire community. pic.twitter.com/EbsdFeeWXO— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) September 28, 2019
The county’s district attorney, Kim Ogg, said the community “lost a trailblazer and public servant.”
Beto O’Rourke, former Texas congressman who is currently running for president, paid his respects to Dhaliwal on Twitter.
“Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, who devoted his life to public service, was killed today in the line of duty,” O’Rourke wrote. “My heart is with his family, with my friend Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, with his fellow officers in Harris County and across the country who are keeping our communities safe tonight.”
A community-led vigil took place Friday night in honor of Dhaliwal. His funeral, which will be open to the public, is set for Wednesday at the Berry Center in Houston at 10:30 a.m.
Dhaliwal is survived by his wife and three children.