Friendly, outgoing and an adventurer.
That was how some described Newman Police Department Cpl. Ronil Singh, who was shot and killed during a traffic stop early Wednesday morning.
Singh had been “working overtime on Christmas night to provide the best for his family,” an uncle, Ugesh Yogi Singh, said in a Facebook tribute, referring to the slain officer as “my adventurous nephew” and “my family’s action hero.”
A resident of northeast Modesto, Singh is survived by his wife, Anamika, and their 5-month-old son.
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Singh was making a traffic stop in east Newman at about 1 a.m. Wednesday when he was gunned down by the driver of a pickup, who fled the scene and remains at large.
“Our Newman Police family is devastated by the loss of Ronil,” said Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson in a release.
Gov. Jerry Brown directed that flags be flown at half-staff at the Capitol in Sacramento in honor of Singh.
“He was super friendly and outgoing,” said Sgt. Tom Letras, a spokesman with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department who had crossed paths many times with the slain corporal.
Singh, a native of Fiji, studied criminal justice at Modesto Junior College in 2005 and began working at the Newman agency in 2011. He previously was employed at the Turlock Police Department and as a reserve at the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.
“Ronil was a good man who started his career with the TPD as a cadet,” said Turlock Police Chief Nino Amirfar in a release Wednesday morning. “His dream and desire was to be a police officer and to be there to serve his community. He chose to be the light in the darkness and to do so without hesitation. We are all devastated and are in mourning. He was loved and will always be in our hearts.”
In his Facebook post, his uncle called Singh “a very adventurous and beautiful soul, taken away too soon ... He was a great role model for our next generation of Indo-Americans.” The post features a few photos of Singh engaging in outdoorsman activities such as hunting and fishing, and posing with his K-9 partner, Sam, near a Christmas tree.
On Christmas Eve, Singh posted on his Facebook page photos of himself along with fish and crabs from a deep sea fishing trip.
Law enforcement always will strive to ensure that “evil will never triumph over good,” Amirfar said. “The love of community and humanity keeps the light of good burning bright and your police officers are the torch bearers and the guardians. Corporal Ronil Singh, rest easy; we have it from here.”
Brown released a statement reading, “On behalf of all Californians, Anne and I extend our condolences to Corporal Singh’s wife, young son, loved ones and colleagues. Our hearts are with the entire community of Newman and law enforcement officers across the state who risk their lives every day to protect and serve the people of California.”
Extended relatives at Singh’s Modesto home on Wednesday said details of his life will be shared when immediate family members arrive from Fiji.
“Officer Singh was a nice guy. He helped me out here a lot,” said Jig Patel, owner of Hamlet Motel in Newman. “Anytime I needed some help, I called him up personally and he came through all the time.”
Garth Stapley: 209-578-2390, @garthstapley1