Slain California officer Ronil Singh recognized with procession, honor guard viewing

Newman police officer Ronil Singh, 33, was shot dead early on Dec. 26.

January 4, 2019, 12:53 PM

Slain California police officer Ronil Singh, whose death has put renewed focus on the heated national debate about undocumented immigrants, was recognized with a solemn procession and honor guard visitation on Friday.

Cpl. Singh, 33, a native of Fiji who dedicated his life to law enforcement, was shot dead in the line of duty early on Dec. 26.

A procession carrying fallen cop Ronil Singh's body is pictured on Jan 4. 2019.

President Donald Trump -- who tweeted about the case when authorities said the suspected killer was an undocumented immigrant -- spoke with Singh's family and local California law enforcement officers on Thursday, said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Officer Ronil Singh of the Newman Police Department, California, is pictured in this undated photo released by Merced Police Department.
Merced Police Department

The suspect, Gustavo Perez Arriaga, fled after shooting Singh at a traffic stop, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. Following a massive manhunt, Arriaga was arrested two days later in Bakersfield, California, 200 miles south of where the alleged crime took place.

Arriaga, an undocumented immigrant, was allegedly trying to flee to Mexico, authorities said.

Singh had been with the Newman Police Department since July 2011, the sheriff's office said. He previously served with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department, according to California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Newman Calif., police officer Ronil Singh is pictured in a photo on display at a press conference about the hunt for his killer, Dec. 27, 2018.

Singh is survived by his wife and 5-month-old son.

"This is a man that I saw every day he worked," an emotional Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson said of Singh. "This is a man that I relieved on Christmas Day so he could go home and spend some time with his family and his newborn child."

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson comforts a tearful Newman, Calif., Police Chief Randy Richardson during a press conference on Dec. 27, 2018.

"He truly loved what he did," added Richardson. "You've never seen a man smile more than him."

Singh's funeral will take place Saturday.

At his arraignment Wednesday, Arriaga told the judge that his real name is Paulo Virgen Mendoza and that Gustavo Arriaga is one of his aliases, ABC San Francisco station KGO reported. At least three aliases were listed on Arriaga's criminal complaint.

Several others have been arrested for allegedly helping Arriaga.

Arriaga did not enter a plea during the hearing and his attorney questioned his mental competency, according to KGO. The case has been suspended until he receives a mental health evaluation.

ABC News' Julia Jacobo and Meridith McGraw contributed to this report.