Three-day bicycle ride in honor of fallen Newman police corporal ends in hugs, tears
A Los Angeles police officer rode a bicycle three days through the Central Valley’s late-summer heat, ending up in Newman Friday afternoon to honor a fallen law enforcement colleague.
Officer Andrew Gonzalez with Project Endure left Los Angeles at 4 a.m. Wednesday to deliver a flag to the family of Newman Cpl. Ronil Singh, fatally shot on a traffic stop the day after Christmas last year.
Gonzalez, accompanied by riding partners who included an emergency room doctor, made the final leg of his journey through heat in the upper 90s.
He rode into town escorted by patrol cars from the Newman Police Department as well as the California Highway Patrol and a Westside ambulance crew.
Eight months after Singh’s death, he clearly remains top of mind in the community he served. Dozens of people showed up to watch as Gonzalez rode past blue ribbon-festooned light poles to arrive at the corner of Kern and Main streets.
Partners from Project Endure helped Gonzalez off his bicycle. After getting his breath and exchanging hugs with his team, Gonzalez approached members of the Singh family, waiting near a memorial for the corporal that was unveiled during National Night Out earlier this month.
The memorial features a photo of Singh, with his K-9 partner, Sam. The dog, who was retired from the department and given to the Singh family, also was at Friday’s event.
Gonzalez handed Singh’s widow, Anamika, an American flag with a blue stripe — similar flags fly on several streets in downtown Newman. He also exchanged tearful hugs with Singh’s brother, Reggie, and held Ronil’s toddler son as members of the Newman Police Department, including Chief Randy Richardson, looked on.
“The road was grueling,” Gonzalez told The Fresno Bee during a stop in Hanford on his single-speed track bicycle.
But Gonzalez said it was important to honor the sacrifice Singh made.
Singh’s death received national attention, with President Donald Trump using it as an example of why he has established a hard line against illegal immigration. Singh was a legal immigrant from Fiji; the man accused of killing him, Paulo Virgen Mendoza, was in the United States illegally.
“He is what this country’s about, right?” Gonzalez told The Fresno Bee. “He in my opinion is the epitome of what somebody who comes to this country should be..”
For more information, or to support Project Endure, go to https://bluecoatmusic.org/road-trip/.