BAKERSFIELD (CBSLA/AP) – Following a statewide manhunt, a suspect wanted in the slaying of a police officer in Northern California Wednesday has been captured in the Bakersfield area.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department confirmed during a Friday afternoon news conference that 32-year-old Gustavo Perez Arriaga was arrested for the death of 33-year-old Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh. Arriaga was arrested by Kern County sheriff’s deputies Friday morning at a home in Bakersfield.
The suspect’s brother, 25-year-old Adrian Virgen, and a coworker, 27-year-old Erik Razo Quiroz, were arrested Thursday for allegedly helping Arriaga escape Stanislaus County after Singh’s killing. Virgen was arrested in Hanford, while Quiroz was arrested in Modesto, Stanislaus County deputies say.
Three others were arrested at the Bakersfield home where Arriaga was captured. Kern County deputies say 59-year-old Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda, 36-year-old Erasmo Villegas and 57-year-old Maria Luisa Moreno were taken into custody for “aiding and abetting.”
Singh was shot just before 1 a.m. Wednesday, a few minutes after radioing in that he was pulling over a gray pickup truck that had no license plate in Newman, a town of about 10,000 people some 85 miles east of San Jose.
Singh was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A truck believed to have been the one stopped by Singh was later found abandoned in a garage in a mobile home park about four miles from the shooting. A neighbor at the park told CBS Sacramento he recognized the suspect as a resident there.
All three men arrested in connection with Singh’s killing were in the U.S. illegally, according to Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson. This detail prompted President Donald Trump Thursday to weigh in on the manhunt. The president is in the midst of a political showdown over immigration with congressional Democrats who are at odds over funding for a border wall that has forced a partial government shutdown.
“There is right now a full scale manhunt going on in California for an illegal immigrant accused of shooting and killing a police officer during a traffic stop,” Trump wrote. “Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!”
“We can’t ignore the fact that this could have been preventable,” Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said, asking why the state was “providing sanctuary for criminals (and) gang members. It’s a conversation we need to have.”
Singh was a native of Fiji. He joined the Newman police force in 2011. He is survived by his wife, Anamika, and a 5-month-old son.
Singh drove more than two hours each way to attend the police academy in Yuba City, Richardson said. He joined the Merced County Sheriff’s Office as a reserve officer and worked as an animal control officer in Turlock before being hired by the Newman force in 2011.
English was Singh’s third language and he had a thick accent but took speech classes to improve his communication, the chief said.
Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson said Singh was the department’s first officer to die in the line of duty.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)