The shooter fled the scene but authorities identified him by looking at Dhaliwal’s dashcam video. They took a photo of the suspect from the dashcam and immediately got it out, Gonzalez said.
Robert Solis, 47, was arrested at a nearby business and faces capital murder charges, the sheriff’s office said. A woman who was in the vehicle with him was also taken into custody.
A ‘cold-blooded ambush’
The deadly encounter started as a regular traffic stop, Maj. Mike Lee said, based on a review of Dhaliwal’s dashcam.
Dhaliwal shut the driver’s door as the driver remained in the vehicle. As he turned to walk back to his patrol car, the driver’s side door opened and a man exited the vehicle “almost immediately running with a gun already out,” Lee said.
The dashcam captured the fatal moment Dhaliwal was shot from behind in the back of the head, Lee said.
“In a cold-blooded manner, ambush style, (he) shot Deputy Dhaliwal from behind,” Gonzalez said. The weapon deputies believe was used to kill him has been recovered. “It’s the worst day, the worst nightmare for any police executive.”
The shooter returned to his vehicle and drove away. A resident who was doing yard work nearby heard the gunshots and rushed to help the deputy.
Adrian Garcia, Harris County police commissioner, said Dhaliwal was a beloved deputy.
“This guy had a heart of gold. He treated his brothers and sisters in law enforcement as if they were just brothers and sisters. He thought of them before he thought of himself. He thought of the broader community before he thought of himself,” Garcia said.
He leaves behind a legacy as a trailblazer
Dhaliwal is survived by his wife and three children.
“As a Sikh American, I felt the need to represent the Sikh community in law enforcement,” Dhaliwal said at the time. “It will give me the chance to open up the conversation.”
Prior to becoming a deputy, Dhaliwal was an entrepreneur with a trucking business. He found out that the Harris County Sheriff’s Office needed someone like him to build bridges with the Sikh community and sold his business. He took lower pay as a detention officer and worked his way up to be a deputy, Garcia said.
“He wore the turban, he represented his community with integrity, respect and pride and he was respected by all,” Gonzalez said.
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