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Stretch of highway in California named after slain Indian-origin cop

A stretch of a highway in California has been named after a 33-year-old Indian-origin police officer who was shot dead while conducting a traffic stop in 2018.

Dedicated to Ronil Singh from Newman Police Department, the “Corporal Ronil Singh Memorial Highway”, which stands at Highway 33 and Stuhr Road, was unveiled at a ceremony on September 2, the Modesto Bee newspaper reported.

“Love you papa,” Singh’s son Arnav, who was just five-months-old when his father was killed, wrote on the back of the signboard.

He was present along with mother Anamika and other family members, and were joined by Singh’s Newman Police Department colleagues and officials, including county Supervisor Channce Condit, state Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil, US Representative John Duarte and Assemblyman Juan Alanis.

“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,” Senator Alvarado-Gil wrote in a Facebook post, saying that Singh will always be a hero.

A resolution for naming a portion of Highway 33 after Singh was passed by the Assembly Transportation Committee in September 2019.

Fiji-born Singh started his law enforcement career as a volunteer with the Modesto Police Department and then served as a cadet and animal service officer with the Turlock Police Department.

He was gunned down by a suspected drunk driver when he was working overtime on Christmas night on December 26, 2018.

Multiple agencies responded to assist Singh, who was found at the scene with gunshot wounds. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

In 2020, Mexican national Paulo Virgen Mendoza, also known as Gustavo Perez Arriaga, pleaded guilty to murdering Singh and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

He was apprehended at a relative’s residence in Kern County following an intensive three-day manhunt.

Paulo’s brother, Conrado Virgen Mendoza, was sentenced in 2021 to 21 months in prison for conspiring with others to assist his brother in fleeing to Mexico to avoid prosecution for Singh’s murder.

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