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Texas Mourns Death of Sandeep Dhaliwal, Trailblazing Sikh Sheriff’s Deputy

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Deputy Sheriff Sandeep Dhaliwal

Deputy Sheriff Sandeep Dhaliwal, the first-ever Sikh officer to wear a turban in Texas, died after being shot while conducting a traffic stop near Houston on Sept. 27.

A subject approached Deputy Dhaliwal from behind as he returned to his patrol car from that traffic stop and shot him multiple times. Dhaliwal was flown to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead several hours later.

A 47-year-old man wanted for a parole violation has been charged with what police are calling the “cold-blooded murder” of Dhaliwal.

“Our city’s grief is boundless in the rare instance that a first responder in our region dies in the line of duty,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in a statement. “But the killing of Harris County Sheriff’s Dep. Sandeep Dhaliwal today brings with it an exceptional horror. He was a bold and groundbreaking law enforcement officer in the eyes of our county, our state, our nation, and around the world, because he sought and received permission to patrol while wearing the outward signs of his Sikh faith, including a turban and beard.”

A widely shared video of Dhaliwal posted on the Facebook page of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office showed him laughing as he allowed a boy to handcuff him and then set him free.

“He laughed and joked with all of us, and left a bright impression on my son who is deaf,” the mother of the boy said of that encounter.

 

Deputy Dhaliwal had served with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years.