NEWMAN (CBS13) – The suspect in the killing of Newman police officer Ronil Singh has been arrested, authorities say.
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson announced on Friday that 33-year-old Gustavo Perez Arriaga was arrested in Kern County for the murder of Cpl. Singh.
Two other men, Arriaga’s brother Adrian Virgen and a coworker of his Erik Quiroz, had been arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting him.
Choking back tears, Cpl. Singh’s brother Reggie spoke at the Friday afternoon press conference announcing the arrests. He thanked all the law enforcement agencies that came together to help catch the suspect.
“I’d like to thank you [for] working day and night to make this happen,” he said.
Cpl. Singh was killed in a gunfight that broke out early Wednesday morning when he pulled over a driver for a DUI investigation.
Sheriff Christianson said Arriaga is an illegal immigrant from Mexico and appeared to be trying to head back after the killing.
“That was his goal, to get across the border,” Christianson said.
Arriaga also claimed to be a gang member and had two prior arrests for DUI, Christianson said.
Cpl. Singh’s killing has attracted national attention, including from President Donald Trump. Seizing on the announcement from the Stanislaus County Sheriff that the suspect was in the US illegally, Trump linked the shooting to his push for building a border wall.
Sheriff Christianson again talked about how Arriaga was an illegal immigrant during Friday’s press conference announcing the arrest.
“While we absolutely need to stay focused on Officer Singh’s service and sacrifice, we can’t ignore the fact that this could have been preventable,” he said.
Arriaga will be returned back to Stanislaus County in Cpl. Singh’s handcuffs, authorities say.