Man who killed Sikh cop near Houston denied bail

The man accused of killing an Indian-American Sikh police officer during a routine traffic stop near Houston was denied bail by a court early on Saturday, reports say.

Robert Solis, 47, was charged with capital murder on Friday night, Harris County Sheriff’s Office said, adding that he had been facing arrest since 2017 for violating his parole.

Solis was jailed for 20 years in 2002 in a kidnapping and assault case. He was also detained for drunk driving.

On Friday around 12.45pm, Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, above left, (Photo credit: Harris County Sheriff’s Office) was returning to his patrol car after pulling over Solis’ vehicle for ignoring a stop sign near a residential area in Cypress.

Solis ran behind him, shot him twice in the back of the head, got back into his car and drove away.

The video captured by the camera fixed on the dashboard of Dhaliwal’s car showed there was no argument to provoke Solis.

Dhaliwal died in Memorial Hermann Hospital.

A woman, who was in the car with Solis, told officers she did not believe when he told her he shot an officer.

Police found Solis’ car in a parking lot. A surveillance camera installed near a steakhouse showed him throwing away the murder weapon.

When officers confronted Solis in a nearby shopping centre, he initially refused to identify himself. He was then shown the getaway car and the CCTV footage of the hand gun before being arrested and detained in the Harris County jail.

Officer hailed as trailblazer

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez described Dhaliwal as a hero and trailblazer.

Dhaliwal was the agency’s first Sikh deputy allowed to wear his turban and beard on duty. Gonzalez remembered how Dhaliwal, as member of a Sikh group, arranged truckloads of supplies for local community hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Dhaliwal was a role model for many and he represented his community with respect and pride, said Adrian Garcia, above right, former sheriff of Harris County, who allowed Dhaliwal to patrol the streets wearing two proud symbols of his faith.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner described Dhaliwal as a walking lesson in tolerance and understanding and emblematic of America’s highest ideals.

Dhaliwal, besides playing a role in boosting America’s cultural diversity, sent a message to religious minority groups that they can serve their communities without compromising their faith.

Before his death, he was planning to start a bus service for elderly Sikh members to a local gurdwara (Sikh shrine).

Dhaliwal is survived by his wife and three children.

Dhaliwal is the second Texas deputy to die during a traffic stop this year.

El Paso County Deputy Peter Herrera was fatally shot during a traffic stop in March.

The two occupants of the car were charged with capital murder.