Sikh Officer Who Made History In Texas Shot And Killed After Routine Traffic Stop
A Sikh police officer who made history in Texas was fatally shot in an ambush on Friday (September 27), authorities have confirmed.
Sandeep Dhaliwal, who was the first Sikh to become a deputy at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Houston, had just conducted a traffic stop when he was shot from behind.
The deputy, who was described as a trailblazer who paved the way for other Sikhs to join the department, joined the force 10 years ago and has been hailed a ‘hero’ in the Sikh community.
Investigators were still at the scene hours after the attack took place:
As reported by The New York Times, Major Mike Lee of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Sandeep made the stop just after 12:20pm, and nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary at first.
The deputy was speaking with the driver for approximately two minutes, with Major Lee saying in a press conference that dashboard camera footage of the incident suggested the two were just being ‘conversational’.
There was no combat, no arguing. It looked like a routine traffic stop that we conduct every day.
After the short conversation, Sandeep started to head back to his patrol vehicle and the driver initially remained in his car. However, within the next five seconds, the driver stepped out of the vehicle and ran up behind the deputy.
Holding a gun, the man ‘basically ambushed’ the father-of-three, fatally shooting him in the back of the head. A witness heard two gunshots and saw the gunman flee immediately afterwards, Major Lee confirmed.
When law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, they obtained an image of the gunman from the dash cam footage and began circulating it. The gunman was found approximately one quarter of a mile away.
Late yesterday, police identified the gunman as 47-year-old Robert Solis, with Sheriff Ed Gonzalez confirming on social media the suspect had an active parole violation warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon from 2017.
Just before his arrest, Solis was caught on surveillance cameras attempting to throw away the Glock 45 caliber semi-automatic gun which was used in the murder outside a nearby business, KTRK reports.
The 47-year-old has an extensive criminal history; on top of his parole violation, Solis has past charges for driving while intoxicated, aggravated robbery, and aggravated kidnapping.
A woman who deputies say was in the vehicle’s passenger seat at the time of the traffic stop has also been taken into custody, although her identity has not been released at this time.
Solis has been charged with capital murder in connection with Sandeep’s murder, with no set bond.
The police deputy is survived by his wife and three children, whom our thoughts are with at this difficult time.
Rest in peace, Sandeep.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.