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Slain Indian-origin police officer's funeral to be held in California

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New York, Jan 5: Funeral services will be held in California on Saturday for Indian-origin police officer Ronil Singh, shot dead allegedly by an illegal immigrant last week, as several police personnel and civilians paid their respects to the fallen officer.

The first of several services for Singh took place Friday morning. Crowds lined up side of the road to pay their last respects as Singh's body travelled from Modesto to Newman in California. An Honor Guard Viewing was also held.

Photos and flowers lined the aisles of the theater in downtown Newman with Singh's flag draped casket at the front, ABC7News reported.

Singh, of the Newman Police Department was shot and killed at a traffic stop on December 26 by an illegal immigrant named Gustavo Perez Arriaga when he was planning to flee to his native Mexico.

Just hours before the incident, the 33-year-old officer had been home celebrating Christmas with his wife and 5-month-old son before starting his night shift.

Singh, who was a native of Fiji and joined the force in July 2011, had called off on a traffic stop in Newman and a few moments later he called out “shots fired” over the radio. Multiple agencies responded to assist and Singh was found at the scene with gunshot wounds. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

California police arrested the suspect last week at a Bakersfield, California home.

Perez Arriaga had crossed into the US illegally and at a news conference last week, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson had said that the killing could have been prevented if California's sanctuary law hadn't prevented local authorities from reporting Perez Arriaga — who had gang affiliations — to immigration officials after two previous arrests.

President Donald Trump spoke with Singh's widow and colleagues on Thursday.

Singh was a more than 7-year veteran of the Newman Police Department and was assigned as a canine officer. Prior to joining the Newman Police Department, he served with the Merced County Sheriff's Department.

He is survived by his wife, Anamika and 5-month-old son.

Tributes and condolence messages for Singh poured from police departments and officials across the country.

California Governor Edmund Brown extended his condolences to Singh's wife, their young son and colleagues. “Our hearts are with the entire community of Newman and law enforcement officers across the state who risk their lives every day to protect and serve the people of California,” Brown said.

In honour of Singh, Capitol flags in California were flown at half-staff.

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