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Update: Trump cites killing of Newman officer in national appeal for border wall

‘This suspect is in this country illegally’, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson

Investigators believe the man suspected of killing Newman Police Cpl. Ronil “Ron” Singh is still in Stanislaus County, Sheriff Adam Christianson said in a news conference Thursday morning.
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Investigators believe the man suspected of killing Newman Police Cpl. Ronil “Ron” Singh is still in Stanislaus County, Sheriff Adam Christianson said in a news conference Thursday morning.

President Donald Trump cited the death of Newman police Cpl. Ronil Singh in a nationwide appeal Tuesday for a border wall.

The televised address from the Oval Office was at least the second time that Trump has used the Singh case to argue that poor immigration enforcement is putting U.S. residents in danger.

“America’s heart broke the day after Christmas, when a young police officer in California was savagely murdered in cold blood by an illegal alien ...,” Trump said. “The life of an American hero was stolen by someone who had no right to be in our country.”

The 10-minute address detailed Trump’s demand for a wall along the Mexico border in any deal with Democrats to end the partial government shutdown that started Dec. 21.

The speech came several hours after the Republican National Committee featured the Dec. 26 killing of Singh in a 90-second video in support of the wall.

Paulo Virgen Mendoza, 32, who officials said was in the United States illegally, was arrested on a murder charge two days later.

The president also stated his view in a tweet the day before Mendoza’s arrest: “There is right now a full scale manhunt going on in California for an illegal immigrant accused of shooting and killing a police officer during a traffic stop. Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!”

The RNC, which works to elect GOP candidates, posted the video on a website called borderfacts.com. It mentions three people killed by undocumented immigrants but devotes the most time to Singh, shot during an encounter with a suspected drunk driver at about 1 a.m.

The video has footage from a news conference at the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department after the arrest. It includes emotional reactions by Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson and the victim’s brother, Reggie Singh.

Then-Sheriff Adam Christianson also is pictured but does not speak in the RNC video. He said at the same news conference that California’s sanctuary laws have hampered efforts to keep people like Mendoza off the streets.

Defenders of the laws have noted that Mendoza’s previous arrests were before the laws were enacted. They include Gov. Jerry Brown, who like Christianson completed his tenure Monday.

John Holland covers breaking news and has been with The Modesto Bee since 2000. He has covered agriculture for the Bee and at newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and has a journalism degree from UC Berkeley.
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