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By Deke Farrow The Modesto Bee

STANISLAUS COUNTY, Calif. – A manhunt continued Wednesday morning for the suspect wanted in the shooting death of a Newman Police Department corporal during a traffic stop early Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Cpl. Ronil Singh, 33, called in a traffic stop at Merced Street and Eucalyptus Avenue just before 1 a.m. Three minutes later, there was a report of “shots fired.”

The corporal’s partner, who was patrolling nearby, was first on scene and found Singh suffering from gunshot wounds, said a spokesman for the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, which is leading the investigation. Singh was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The Sheriff’s Department reported later in the morning that Singh is survived by his wife, Anamika, their 5-month-old son, his parents and a brother.

It appears the shooting took place in front of a small, single-story apartment complex on Merced Street. Across the street is a utility station on one side of Eucalyptus and a home on the other.

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Deputy Royjindar Singh (no relation to the Newman corporal) said it appeared Cpl. Singh’s vehicle was positioned as it should have been during a typical traffic stop, several feet away from the curb. Information was not available Wednesday morning on the circumstances of the shooting, including whether the corporal was able to draw his weapon and exchange gunfire.

The suspect, described by Deputy Singh as Latino, could have fled the scene in a gray, extended-cab Dodge Ram pickup, which was seen in the area at the time of the shooting. There were paper plates on the vehicle, which read “AR Auto.”

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Newman Police Officer Shot and Killed- Unidentified Suspect Caught on Surveillance Video Newman Police Officer Ronil…

Posted by Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday, December 26, 2018

All law enforcement agencies within Stanislaus County responded to the shooting and were involved in the search for the killer. Merced County sheriff’s deputies also responded, Deputy Singh said.

A “snare” was immediately set up around the city, and deputies and officers were searching neighborhoods, as well as other parts of the county. A snare blocks main routes in and out of a crime scene, Deputy Singh said, adding that Newman fortunately has few of them. About 8 a.m., Highway 33 at Stuhr Road was blocked by three Stanislaus sheriff’s vehicles.

There also was a strong law enforcement presence seen along Hills Ferry and River roads.

Before coming to Newman in 2011, Singh worked as a deputy with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department in 2010 and worked for the Turlock Police Department from 2006 to 2010, according to his Facebook page.

“The Turlock Police Department mourns the loss of Corporal Ronil Singh of the Newman Police Department,” said Chief Nino Armifar of the Turlock Police Department. “Ronil was a good man who started his career with the TPD as a cadet. His dream and desire was to be a police officer and to be there to serve his community.

“He chose to be the light in the darkness and to do so without hesitation. We are all devastated and are in mourning. He was loved and will always be in our hearts.”

A native of Fiji, Singh, studied criminal justice at Modesto Junior College in 2005.

He lived in northeast Modesto.

He didn’t appear to be a frequent user of Facebook, but there was an early Christmas Eve day post from an apparent fishing outing, showing off “some fish and crabs from deep sea fishing trip.”

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Detective Michael Fisher at 209-525-7083 or dispatch at 209-552-2468. Anonymous tips may be left by calling Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636. Callers may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips also can be submitted via www.stancrimetips.org.

Anyone who sees the suspect should not engage him, as he is armed and dangerous and already has killed, Deputy Singh warned.

This is a breaking story. We’ll update when more information becomes available.

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©2018 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.)

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