Stanislaus sheriff tweeted new photos of the suspect wanted for killing a Newman police officer on Wednesday. In the tweet, he said that he could not confirm the suspect's name and date of birth. Photo: @StanSheriff?/Twitter
NEWMAN, Calif. (KTVU/AP) - New photos were released of a suspect accused of killing a California police officer the day after Christmas, and his legal status reignited the immigration debate, specifically drawing the president's ire.
The man, whose name has not been released despite authorities saying he was undocumented, remained at large Friday despite a manhunt and was considered armed and dangerous. He is accused of killing Newman, Calif. Police Cprl. Ronil Singh on Dec. 26, who was conducting an early morning DUI traffic stop.
President Donald Trump, whose demand that Congress approve $5 billion for a U.S. southern border wall has led to a partial government shutdown, tweeted Thursday about Singh's killing, ending with: "Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!"
While law enforcement agencies throughout California had been alerted, the man was believed to still be in the local area.
"We will find him, we will arrest him and we will bring him to justice," Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said. "He doesn't belong here. He is a criminal," Christianson said Thursday. Authorities also made sure to point out that Singh immigrated legally from his native Fiji.
Singh, a 33-year-old with a newborn son, was an "American patriot," Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson said during an emotional news conference on Thursday. "He came to America with one purpose, and that was to serve this country."
Singh was the first officer to die in the line of duty, in a department with 12 sworn officers.
Singh drove more than two hours each way to attend the police academy in Yuba City, Richardson said. He joined the Merced County sheriff's office as a reserve officer and worked as an animal control officer in Turlock before being hired by the Newman force in 2011.
English was Singh's third language and he had a thick accent but took speech classes to improve his communication, the chief said.
Singh is survived by his wife, Anamika, and their 5-month-old son.
"Please help us find this coward," Richardson said of Singh's killer. "We need closure, his family needs closure."
The Associated Press' Olga R. Rodriguez contributed to this report.