MODESTO (CBS13) — Heartbroken and angry, several people from the small community of Newman gathered outside the Stanislaus County courthouse Wednesday as the man accused of shooting and killing an officer appeared in court.
Gustavo Arriaga, 33, did not enter a plea. His girlfriend, along with a co-worker, and two brothers also faced a judge.
It’s been almost a week since Arriaga, the suspected cop killer was arrested. He appeared in court Wednesday in Stanislaus County. The judge using one of his many aliases – Paulo Mendoza.
“It just feels like we lost a family member. Our town is small. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody is like family. Everybody is there for each other and to have something so tragic happen to one of our police officers is devastating,” said Sherie Paper, who lives in Newman.
Arriaga faces murder charges for the shooting death of Newman police officer corporal Ronil Singh. Singh, who had been part of the police department since 2011, was gunned down during a traffic stop the morning after Christmas.
“I believe we need a change, I believe anyone who is here illegal that has committed a criminal act should be able to reported to ICE,” Paper said.
Arriaga, who investigators say is not in the U.S. legally, did not enter a plea. His attorney questioned his competency, declaring Arriaga incompetent to stand trial. The judge requested an evaluation by a doctor to be reviewed by the court next month.
Four of the seven other suspects, including his girlfriend, two brothers and a co-worker arrested for helping Arriaga hide from police, will be back in court Friday for further arraignment. The community now working together to move forward.
“Hopefully we will unit together and come as one and our officers says we need to know our neighbors and watch out for one another and try to watch out for one another,” said Terri Ettington, who lives in Newman.
Bail for Arriaga has not been set. His next court appearance is February 7.