MODESTO -- Honoring a fallen hero: Newman police officer, Cpl. Ronil Singh’s funeral was held Saturday in Modesto. Many told stories and shared memories of Singh and the impact he had on their lives.
“Ronil was always smiling and had a great sense of humor,” said a fellow officer.
Family, friends and thousands of law enforcement officers from across the state and country packed into Crosspoint Community Church to celebrate his life and sacrifice.
“Thank you for taking the time to honor a man who stood for what's right in our world and yet was taken too soon by what’s wrong in our world,” said Jeff Harman with Modesto Police.
Cpl. Singh was killed in the line of duty the day after Christmas, during a traffic stop involving a suspected drunken driver.
“Had I known Christmas morning when I sent him home that it would be the last time that I saw him I would have hugged him,” Newman Police Chief, Randy Richardson said.
His death led to a multi-day, statewide manhunt and the arrest of his suspected killer, Gustavo Arriaga, an undocumented immigrant and suspected gang member.
“Knowing my brother, he wanted justice and justice will be served. Thank you for working day and night to bring justice for my brother,” said Reggie Singh.
Singh -- a loving son, brother, husband and father -- is survived by his wife and 5-month-old son.
“Never did I think we'd be standing here, saying goodbye to such a great man,” Richardson said.
His friends and family describe Singh’s determination and dedication for fulfilling not just his childhood dream of being a police officer but also the American dream.
“He told me he came to this country with one purpose and that purpose was to be a police officer,” Richardson recalled.
Singh worked his way up from being a code enforcement officer, then an animal control officer to finally landing a job with the Newman Police Department, where he would later work as a K-9 officer, before moving up the ranks to become a corporal.
“Cpl. Ronil Singh is a shining example of what is right in our world,” said Harman.
But Singh was more than his job. Those who knew him best remember him as a loyal friend, a great man and for always bringing joy to others.
“Ron had a knack for smiling and making everybody happy and no matter the circumstance he had that smile, that grin on his face,” Richardson said.
Singh is from a little town on the island of Fiji, but he left a big impact on the Central Valley.
“Ronil succeeded in making the world a better and safe place for all of us. Newman Police Department, Cpl. Ronil Singh, you will be greatly missed," an officer bemoaned.
Cpl. Singh's name will be the 19th one etched in stone on a memorial dedicated to fallen officers.
The memorial stands as a reminder of Singh’s service and his sacrifice but also as a reminder to other law enforcement officers to continue the fight for justice and peace.