- The 33-year-old Fiji-born officer was fatally shot while conducting a traffic stop in the tiny town in the state’s Central Valley on Dec. 26, 2018.
A stretch of Highway 33 in Newman, California was dedicated yesterday (Sept. 2) to honor Corporal Ronil Singh, the 33-year-old Fiji-born officer in the Newman Police Department, who was fatally shot while conducting a traffic stop in the tiny town in California’s Central Valley on Dec. 26, 2018. The “Corporal Ronil Singh Memorial Highway” stands at Highway 33 and Stuhr Road, The Modesto Bee reported, adding that messages written on the back of the sign included one from Singh’s son Arnav, which reads “Love you Papa.” He was just 5 months old when his father was killed.
Arnav was in attendance at the Sept. 2 event, along with is mother Anamika, and other family members. They were joined by Singh’s colleagues from the Newman Police Department and officials including county Supervisor Channce Condit, state Sen. Marie Alvarado-Gil, U.S. Rep. John Duarte and Assemblyman Juan Alanis, The Modesto Bee reported. The ceremony to unveil the sign was held following the community’s Tunnel to Towers 5K walk and run.
Singh was shot and killed when he pulled over Paulo Virgen Mendoza early on Dec. 26, 2018, on suspicion of drunken driving and for having a missing license plate. He 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. Mendoza pleaded guilty in November 2020 to Singh’s murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Singh, who immigrated to the U.S. from Fiji to fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, joined the police department in 2011 after working for the Merced County Sheriff’s Office. Along with his wife and son, he left behind Sam, his black Labrador Retriever K-9 partner.
According to an April 2021Associated Press report, at Paulo Virgen Mendoza’s trial, Singh’s widow said her deceased husband “loved his American dream of becoming a police officer,” and wanted his son to be a police officer as well. She recalled at the trial how the family celebrated Christmas together before he kissed his 5-month-old son on the forehead, then “he told me, ‘I love you and I’ll see you in the morning.’”
That was Singh’s last shift. That night at 2 a.m. a knock on the door from a fellow officer and a nightmarish ride to a hospital surrounded by officers from multiple agencies, later, Anamika Singh learned of her husband’s death. According to the report, the widow told Mendoza at his trial that he “tore away my dreams … tore my love away from me and left me silently screaming.”