The day after Christmas, police Cpl. Ronil Singh was fatally shot, allegedly by an illegal immigrant, during a routine traffic stop in Newman, California.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday noted that just the day before, Singh, 33, had posed for a Christmas photo with his wife, their infant son, and a police canine.
At the 38th annual Peace Officers Memorial Service on the West Lawn of the Capitol, Trump invited the slain Newman police officer’s wife, carrying their 10-month-old son, Arnav, to the podium. The fallen officer’s brother also was invited to speak.
“You’re the only one who really reached out to us,” said Anamika Singh, Ronil Singh’s widow.
Trump had met earlier with the family in the Oval Office and showed them the Lincoln Bedroom.
“This man over here, the Singh family supports him,” Reggie Singh, brother of Ronil Singh, said of Trump at the event. “Whatever he is doing for the law enforcement, we support him. His team at the White House has reached out to us multiple times. This man is amazing.”
In January, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department announced the arrest of a Mexican national, Paulo Virgen Mendoza—alias Gustavo Perez Arriaga—who was in the country illegally, in connection with the crime. The sheriff’s office said the alleged killer, 32, should have known Singh was a “sworn police officer, acting in the performance of his duties.”
The lawyer for the suspect on April 11 filed a plea of not guilty to the murder charge. The Modesto Bee newspaper reported at the time that the judge had scheduled the defendant to return to court May 24 for a pretrial hearing.
At Wednesday’s ceremony, Trump called the Singhs “an incredible family.”
“Ronil came to this country legally in 2003, with the dream of earning the badge of an American police officer,” the president said. “He devoted his life to defending the laws of this country.”
By contrast, Mendoza should not have been in the country, Trump added.
“He was a vicious killer. This man that had crossed the border illegally just a little while before that could have been kept out with border security, with the wall, with whatever the hell it takes,” the president said.
Trump talked about protecting police and securing the border, and demanded “fair but fast” trials for cop killers, who he said should receive the death penalty if convicted.
“The ambushes and attacks on our police must end, and they must end right now,” the president said. “We believe that criminals who murder police officers should immediately, with trial, get the death penalty, but quickly. The trial should go fast. It’s got to be fair, but it has got to go fast. That’s happening, fair but fast.”