Slain police officer called ‘American hero’ at his funeral

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A California police officer who was killed in the line of duty was hailed last Saturday as a “Fiji-born American hero” who made the ultimate sacrifice for his adopted country.

At a funeral held for Corporal Ronil Singh, mourners remember-ed the 33-year-old as a hard-working immigrant who worked his way up to become an officer in the small town of Newman.

He “stood so much for what is right in our world and yet unfortunately was taken too soon from us by what is wrong in our world,” Modesto Police Officer Jeff Harmon said at the service in a Modesto church.

He “probably more than anything else wanted to be home on Christmas night with his wife and his young son, but instead made a selfless choice to serve all of his community knowing that there are many more than just his own family that needed his protection that night”.

Singh was shot to death in the early hours of December 26 last year after he pulled over a suspected drunk driver.

Mourners hold a sign as a procession accompanies the body of slain Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh in Modesto, California. – AP

The gunman fled, and a two-day-long manhunt led to the arrest of a man who authorities said was in the country illegally and was preparing to flee to Mexico.

Gustavo Arriaga Perez, also 33, has since been charged with murder.

The case has rekindled a debate over California’s sanctuary law that limits cooperation by local authorities with federal immigration authorities.

United States (US) President Donald Trump has cited Singh’s killing to call for tougher border security amid a fight with congressional Democrats over funding for a border wall.

The impasse has forced a partial government shutdown that entered a 15th day last Saturday.

At his funeral, however, Singh’s brother and colleagues focussed on his achievements and playful personality.