The first Sikh sheriff’s deputy in Texas allowed to wear articles of faith while on duty was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Friday.
According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal had pulled over a car and spoken with its driver around 1:00 p.m. As Dhaliwal was walking back to his patrol car, the driver he had stopped allegedly got out of his car and shot Dhaliwal in the back of the head. The driver then fled the scene.
Dhaliwal was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital and pronounced deceased at 4:01 PM.
Police later arrested 47-year-old Robert Solis at a shopping center, and charged him with capital murder. The sheriff’s office later tweeted that Solis had an active Parole Violation Warrant for Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon from January 2017. He was denied bond Saturday morning.
“Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, a 10-year veteran, was a hero, was a respected member of the community and he was a trailblazer,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a press conference Friday afternoon. “He was a father I believe of three children, he was a husband, a brother and a son.”
In 2015, Dhaliwal became the first Texan approved to wear the Sikh religion’s traditional turban and a beard while on duty, according to the Associated Press. He was also the first Sikh to serve in that sheriff’s office, according to the Houston Chronicle.
A community-led vigil was held for Dhaliwal Friday night, according to Harris County Major Mike Lee’s twitter page.
Throughout the day, Harris County Sheriff’s Office has tweeted out memories of Dhaliwal and outpourings of support from the community.
Presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke also tweeted his condolences, as did Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.