NEWMAN, Calif. (KTVU) - A Newman police officer was shot and killed during a traffic stop early Wednesday morning and the suspect is considered armed and dangerous, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's department.
Police Cpl. Ronil Singh, 33, was shot and killed during a traffic stop just before 1 a.m. at Merced Street and Eucalyptus Avenue in Newman (Stanislaus County), about 25 miles south of Modesto.
Singh called out "shots fired" over the radio. Multiple agencies responded to assist and Singh was found at the scene with gunshot wounds. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. His drug-sniffing dog, a black Labrador retriever named Sam, was not hurt, authorities said.
Deputies said they located a pickup truck they believed belonged to the suspect after serving a search warrant at a mobile home park in Newman shortly after 3 p.m. The sheriff's office said Wednesday afternoon they were processing the vehicle for evidence and that the gunman remained at large.
"Our Newman police family is devastated by the loss of Ronil," Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson said.
According to the sheriff's department, the suspect had fled the scene before other officers arrived on the scene. Stanislaus County Sheriff's detectives released photographs of the suspect and his getaway car, described as a gray, extended cab Dodge Ram 1500 pickup with dealer paper plates. The truck was later found during a search of a Newman mobile-home park. An employee inside Newman Food said that the suspect had bought two 12-packs of beer beforehand.
I just spoke with an employee at Newman Foods. Told me suspect in shooting death of Cpl. Ronil Singh came in and bought two 12 packs of beer. Does not recognize him. Pics taken from surveillance cameras: pic.twitter.com/EYqc7UufAP— Elissa Harrington (@EHarringtonTV) December 26, 2018
The suspect was described as a heavy-set Latino man with black hair and a shaved head. He was last seen wearing a black jacket with white Ecko brand patches on the shoulder, black shirt, a silver chain necklace, blue jeans and black shoes.
Singh was a native of Fiji and has been employed by the Newman Police Department since July 2011. He was assigned as a canine officer and he was pictured all over the department's Instagram page with Sam after narcotics busts.
Before Newman, Singh had worked for the Merced County Sheriff's Department and the Turlock Police Department.
On his Facebook page, Singh posted pictures on Christmas Eve from a deep sea fishing trip that produced a big haul of crabs and fish. The profile picture shows him smiling as he stands at a patrol car with a dog - the same photograph of the officer released by the sheriff's department.
Gov. Jerry Brown also issued his condolences in a statement: "On behalf of all Californians, Anne and I extend our condolences to Corporal Singh's wife, young son, loved ones and colleagues. Our hearts are with the entire community of Newman and law enforcement officers across the state who risk their lives every day to protect and serve the people of California."
Singh is survived by his wife, Anamika, and a 5-month-old son.
Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect is asked to contact Detective Michael Fisher at 209-525-7083 or dispatch at 209-552-2468.