Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Saturday condemned the fatal shooting of an Indian-American Sikh police officer serving in Texas while doing his duty. Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal was shot during a traffic stop near Houston. “Deeply grieved to learn of the shooting of Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, a Sikh Indian-American officer in Houston, USA. We have just visited that city. My condolences to his family,” Jaishankar tweeted.
Deeply grieved to learn of the shooting of Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, a Sikh Indian-American officer in Houston. We have just visited that city. My condolences to his family. https://t.co/BBUJOFcjB8
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) September 28, 2019
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also condemned the killing of Dhaliwal. “Deeply anguished to learn the ruthless killing of Deputy Sheriff of Harris County, Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal. He represented the Sikh community with pride and was the first turbaned police officer of America. My condolences to his family. RIP,” he tweeted.
Deeply anguished to learn of the ruthless killing of Deputy Sheriff of Harris County, Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal. He represented the Sikh community with pride and was the first turbaned police officer of America. My condolences to his family. RIP. pic.twitter.com/tkizjEgvMQ
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) September 28, 2019
Dhaliwal, 42, was described as “a trailblazer” because he was the first Sikh deputy of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office when he joined the force 10 years ago. He is the second Texas deputy to die while making a traffic stop this year.
“Dhaliwal had stopped a vehicle with two people inside when one of the occupants was able to leave the vehicle, approach the deputy from behind and shoot him at least twice “basically just shot him in a very ruthless, cold-blooded way,” AP quoted Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, as saying.
Sheriff’s Major Mike Lee said, “Dhaliwal’s dashboard camera captured video showing Dhaliwal speaking with the driver in what appeared to be a conversational tone with “no combat, no arguing”. The driver’s door was opened at one point, and Dhaliwal shut it as the driver remained in the vehicle. When Dhaliwal turned to walk back to his patrol car, the driver steps from the car “almost immediately running with a gun already out. The driver shot the deputy from behind, hitting him in the back of the head. The driver got back in his car and drove away.”
The shooter was seen running to a shopping centre nearby. Investigators were able to identify what the shooter looked like by watching Dhaliwal’s dashcam video. The vehicle the shooter was driving was found and is being investigated, officials said. The gunman and the woman were taken into custody, the officials said according to AP. “They immediately looked at his dashcam to see what the suspect looked like, they took a photo of the suspect on the scene with their phone and immediately got that out to our intel people,” PTI quoted Gonzalez as saying.
Since 2015, Dhaliwal was the “history-making” police officer in Texas to serve while keeping his Sikh articles of faith. He was allowed to wear the turban and beard while patrolling the streets in order to bolster cultural diversity.