A gunman suspected of killing a California police officer who pulled him over to investigate if he was driving drunk is in the country illegally.
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said Thursday detectives have identified the suspect in the shooting death of Cpl. Ronil Singh, a member of the small-town Newman Police Department. The suspect's name was not released. He remains at large but authorities say they believe he's still in the area and that he should be considered armed and dangerous.
"This suspect ... is in our country illegally. He doesn't belong here. He is a criminal," Sheriff Christianson said at a news conference.
He says the man they are looking for was seen in surveillance photos at a convenience store shortly before Singh was killed Wednesday. Officials were asking for help from the public and said they were following up on several leads. "The sheriff's office will spare no expense in hunting down this criminal," said Christianson, whose department is leading the investigation.
Christianson said Singh, a 33-year-old native of Fiji with an infant son, stopped the attacker as part of a DUI investigation and that the officer fired back to try to defend himself.
Singh was shot a few minutes after radioing that he was pulling over a gray pickup truck that had no license plate in Newman, a town of about 10,000 people some 100 miles southeast of San Francisco. Singh died at a hospital.
A ground and air search began for the heavyset man pictured at the store with short, dark hair and wearing a silver chain, jeans, dark T-shirt and a dark jacket with white Ecko brand patches on the shoulders.
(Photo credit reporting partner 10News)