JERSEY VILLAGE, Texas — A sheriff’s deputy described as “a trailblazer” because he was the first Sikh deputy of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office when he joined the force 10 years ago, was shot and killed while making a traffic stop Friday near Houston.
Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, 42, was pronounced dead at Memorial Hermann Hospital after the 12:45 p.m. shooting in a residential cul-de-sac 18 miles (29 kilometers) northwest of Houston.
Dhaliwal had stopped a vehicle with two people inside. One of the occupants was able to leave the vehicle, approach the deputy from behind and shoot him at least twice — “basically just shot him in a very ruthless, cold-blooded way,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
Robert Solis, 47, of Houston, was charged Friday night with capital murder in the slaying. He was being held without bond in the Harris County Jail.
Gonzalez’s predecessor as sheriff, Adrian Garcia, implemented a religious accommodation policy that allowed Dhaliwal to wear the traditional turban and beard of the Sikh religion.
Dhaliwal’s dashboard camera captured video showing Dhaliwal speaking with the driver in what appeared to be a conversational tone with “no combat, no arguing,” Sheriff’s Maj. Mike Lee said. The driver’s door was opened at one point, and Dhaliwal shut it as the driver remained in the vehicle.
When Dhaliwal turned to walk back to his patrol car, the driver steps from the car “almost immediately running with a gun already out,” Lee said. The driver shot the deputy from behind, hitting him in the back of the head. The driver got back in his car and drove away.