(HOUSTON) — 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.
“He touched countless of lives along the way. A legacy that will never be forgotten,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez wrote on Twitter. “We will aspire to be as good as he was.”
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.
The county’s district attorney, Kim Ogg, said the community “lost a trail blazer 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.
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