Deke Farrow, Erin Tracy, and Vikaas Shanker, Sacramento Bee, December 27, 2108
The manhunt continued late Thursday afternoon for the man suspected of gunning down a Newman Police Department corporal.
Stanislaus County detectives searched a farmhouse about 12 miles south of Merced on Thursday afternoon in connection with the shooting death of Cpl. Ronil Singh.
Singh, 33, was shot and killed at 1 a.m. Wednesday after pulling over a suspected drunk driver at Merced Street and Eucalyptus Avenue.
Christianson said investigators have identified the suspect, and that he was in the country illegally.
“He doesn’t belong here; he is a criminal,” the sheriff said.
Less than two hours after after the press conference, President Donald Trump Tweeted about the suspect’s illegal immigration status.
“There is right now a full scale manhunt going on in California for an illegal immigrant accused of shooting and killing a police officer during a traffic stop. Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!” he Tweeted.
He said Singh exchanged gunfire with the suspect but is not believed to have hit him.
Richardson said Singh immigrated to the United States from Fiji, determined to be a police officer. He commuted more than two and a half hours from his home to the police academy in Yuba City, which he put himself through.
He worked as a reserve officer for the Merced County Sheriff’s Office and as a cadet and animal control officer in Turlock before being hired by Newman in 2011.
English was Singh’s third language, the chief said. His thick accent made it difficult for him to communicate with dispatch, so he took speech classes.