NEWMAN — The city of Newman spent Friday morning remembering and honoring the life of Corporal Ronil Singh.
Blue ribbons decorate storefronts and flags were draped over windows, while hundreds stood together waiting in silence for the procession to make its way to the West Side Theatre.
Family, community members, law enforcement and Corporal Singh’s trusted K9 Sam lined the streets outside the theatre waiting for their turn to honor Singh.
Kimberly Lawson was one many who shared memories of Singh while waiting in line.
“He was a great guy always smiling,” Lawson said. “If you were in your front yard he would literally stop and talk to you if he was driving by.”
Lawson wasn’t alone in that sentiment.
“He was a really nice police officer. A really nice gentleman,” Audrey McIntyre explained.
“He was a good man,” Merced Police Officer Robert Luna said. “He will be missed and he’s the kind of officer we want.”
Singh was shot and killed hours after spending time with his wife and baby on Christmas.
Police say Singh pulled over 32-year-old Gustavo Arriaga for DUI just before the shooting.
Arriaga, an undocumented immigrant, was arrested Friday, Dec. 28.
While the focus of the morning was mostly on Singh, his family and the Newman Police Department, people in the small town are also asking for change from lawmakers in Sacramento.
“If we weren’t a sanctuary state do you think he would be gone right now? Maybe. But, I don’t think so, because [Arriaga] would have been deported,” Lawson said.
Another resident expressed concern about gang members living in the community.
“We cant have this. I”m sorry,” Bobby Pimengel said. “We need to get rid of these gangs. We need to do something to make this community safe for us and our children.”
A second Honor Guard Viewing is expected to happen Friday evening in Modesto. Singh will be laid to rest Saturday morning at CrossPoint Community Church in Modesto.