(LOS ANGELES) -- The California police officer whose killing has sparked a massive and ongoing manhunt left behind a wife and 5-month-old son.
Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh, 33, a native of Fiji who dedicated his life to law enforcement, was killed in the line of duty Wednesday.
The gunman fled after shooting Singh just before 1 a.m., according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.
Singh had been with the Newman Police Department since July 2011, the sheriff's office said. He previously served with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department, according to a statement from California Gov. Jerry Brown.
Singh's slaying was the first line-of-duty officer death in the history of the Newman Police, an agency of 12 members.
"This is a man that I saw every day he worked," an emotional Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson said of Singh at a Thursday news conference. "This is a man that I relieved on Christmas Day so he could go home and spend some time with his family and his newborn child."
"He will never see his son walk," said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, whose agency is leading the investigation. "He doesn't get to hold that little boy, hug his wife."
Richardson said Singh was an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing, hunting and riding his jet ski.
He said Singh was also a K-9 handler whose drug-sniffing dog, Sam, was with him when he was killed.
"When I pulled Sam out of the car, Sam was wearing a Mrs. Claus outfit that he [Singh] put on her because it's just the kind of guy he was. It's just the little things like that he did just to bring smiles to people's faces," Richardson said.
He said one of the last photos Singh posed for was of him standing in front of an American flag and next to a Christmas tree outside the Newman police station.
"He was truly just a human being and an American patriot," said Christianson.
"He truly loved what he did," added Richardson. "You've never seen a man smile more than him."
Authorities are pleading with the public to help them catch the suspect in Singh's killing, who remains at large.
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