Harris County, TX – Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal was shot in the head from behind by a driver he stopped for a traffic violation on Friday.
Harris County Sheriff’s Major Mike Lee said the shooting occurred after Deputy Dhaliwal made a traffic stop at about 12:23 p.m. on Sept. 27 in the 14800-block of Willancy Court, KTRK reported.
Maj. Lee said that the deputy’s dashcam video showed him standing beside a vehicle talking to the driver, who remained inside the car.
The video showed the driver’s door was open at one point during the conversation.
Maj. Lee said there was “no combat, no arguing,” KTRK reported.
He said the dashcam video showed Deputy Dhaliwal shut the driver’s door and the driver remained in the vehicle.
Then the deputy turned to walk back to his police vehicle and everything went sideways, KTRK reported.
Maj. Lee said that when Deputy Dhaliwal’s back was turned, the driver jumped out of his vehicle “almost immediately running with a gun already out.”
He said the dashcam captured the moment the driver shot Deputy Dhaliwal in the back of the head, and then jumped back into his own vehicle and drove away, leaving the deputy to die, KTRK reported.
The major said a witness who was working in his yard nearby when the deputy was shot saw what happened and ran to try and help the deputy.
First responders performed CPR until a Life Flight helicopter arrived to transport Deputy Dhaliwal to Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center.
Deputy Dhaliwal died at the hospital shortly thereafter.
When deputies arrived on the scene, they reviewed the dashcam video and grabbed a picture of the shooter to share, KTRK reported.
Maj. Lee said the suspect was located just moments later at a nearby gas station, looking nervous, and taken into custody without incident.
He said a woman who was also in the vehicle was taken into custody at the same time, KTRK reported.
Authorities have not yet released the name of either suspect.
Deputy Dhaliwal was a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, KTRK reported.
He received national attention in 2015 when he was the first Texas deputy approved to wear his Sikh turban and beard while in uniform, KHOU reported.
The murdered hero, who had just returned from a volunteer mission in Puerto Rico, was the first member of the Sikh community to join the department.
Deputy Dhaliwal is survived by his wife and three small children.
A Harris County sheriff’s deputy who worked with Deputy Dhaliwal told Blue Lives Matter that his friend was very proud of being a deputy sheriff and did his job very well.
“He truly was a great person in this community,” the deputy said. “He LOVED this job. Eyes beaming-type loved it.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez described Deputy Dhaliwal as a personal friend and said he was heartbroken, KHOU reported.
“He was a hero, a respected member of the community, and a trailblazer,” Sheriff Gonzalez said.
The sheriff said Deputy Dhaliwal inspired other members of the Sikh community to enter Harris County law enforcement, KHOU reported.
In 2015, after his friend and fellow deputy, Darren Goforth, was murdered in uniform while putting gas in his car at a Cypress gas station, Deputy Dhaliwal launched the social media hashtag #BlueHouston to build support for law enforcement.
Deputy Dhaliwal was the first one to use the gas pump where Deputy Goforth was killed when it re-opened, and he was part of the dedication ceremony and put a Texas blue line sticker on the pump as a tribute to his friend, KRIV reported.
The sheriff’s office said that after Hurricane Harvey, Deputy Dhaliwal galvanized the Sikh community around Houston and collected an enormous amount of supplies to help community members affected by the storm.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Deputy Dhaliwal, your life mattered.