In a tribute to the fallen Indian-origin police officer, Ronil Singh, who was lauded by former US President Donald Trump, the state of California bestowed an honour upon him last Saturday. A segment of highway, situated in Newman, California, has been officially designated in memory of Singh, who tragically lost his life when he was fatally shot by an undocumented immigrant at a roadside checkpoint.
Corporal Ronil Singh, aged 33, was on duty during Christmas Eve, working overtime when he pulled over a motorist suspected of driving under the influence.
During a commemorative ceremony conducted on September 3, the late police officer’s wife, Anamika, and their son, Arnav, who was just five months old when his father was tragically killed, were in attendance. The event witnessed the unveiling of a sign, marking the ‘Corporal Ronil Singh Memorial Highway,’ as a solemn tribute to Singh’s ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, as reported by a Californian newspaper.
In addition to Singh’s immediate family, the ceremony saw the presence of his extended family members and former colleagues from the Newman Police Department. Notable community figures and officials, including County Supervisor Channce Condit, State Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil, US Representative John Duarte, and Assemblyman Juan Alanis, all came together to pay their respects, as reported by the Modesto Bee.
Among the heartfelt messages inscribed on the back of the memorial sign, it was Arnav, Singh’s son, who captured maximum attention with a simple yet poignant message: “Love you Papa.”
California State Assemblyman Juan Alanis also took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to share his sentiments, stating, “Today, the community united to honour the memory of Cpl. Ronil Singh, who tragically lost his life in the line of duty in December 2018. The memorial highway sign was unveiled today and will be displayed on Highway 33 and Stuhr Road.”
In a Facebook post, California Senator Alvarado-Gil commended Corporal Singh’s unwavering commitment to his duty, affirming that the fallen officer will forever remain a hero.
She stated, “Today, a promise that was made has finally been brought to life. The Newman community honoured the late Corporal Singh for his dedication and commitment to putting his life on the line for the safety of others. The community came in numbers, showering the Singh family with love and support as they finally got to see this project come to life. Corporal Ronil Singh will always be a hero.”
Born in Fiji, Ronil Singh of Indian Descent, embarked on his law enforcement journey as a volunteer with the Modesto Police Department. He then went on to serve as a cadet and animal service officer with the Turlock Police Department.
Tragically, his life was cut short while he was working overtime on Christmas night, on December 26, 2018, when he was fatally shot by a suspected drunk driver. Numerous law enforcement agencies swiftly responded to assist Singh at the scene, where he was discovered with gunshot wounds. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he was regrettably pronounced dead.
In 2020, Paulo Virgen Mendoza, also known as Gustavo Perez Arriaga and a Mexican national, pleaded guilty to the murder of Ronil Singh. He received a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole. Mendoza’s capture occurred at a relative’s residence in Kern County following an intensive three-day manhunt.
Additionally, Paulo’s brother, Conrado Virgen Mendoza, received a 21-month prison sentence in 2021 for his involvement in a conspiracy to aid his brother in escaping to Mexico to evade prosecution for Singh’s murder.
Former President Trump, referring to the incident, characterised it as the cold-blooded murder of the young officer by an “illegal alien”. He hailed Corporal Singh as a “national hero” in 2019 and personally reached out to the deceased officer’s wife and colleague.