Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal had been a member of the Harris County Police Department for the last 10 years.
And in 2015, as USA Today reports, he made history when he was approved to wear a turban and a beard to honor his Sikh faith while he protected the people of his Texas community.
Sadly on September 27, Dhaliwal was shot twice by a man named Robert Solis. According to USA Today, Dhaliwal was returning back to his patrol car when the man opened fire, hitting the deputy twice in the back of the head.
The suspect was wanted for parole violations and has since been charged with capital murder. He is currently being held without bail.
Now, friends, family, and members of his community are remembering Dhaliwal for the “gem of a person” he was. One family went viral when they asked the Harris County Sheriff’s Office to share a video of their son interacting with Dhaliwal as he was having breakfast.
The video shows Dhaliwal interacting with the child and allowing the young boy to handcuff him. The deputy is seen wearing a big smile on his face the whole time.
A Harris County resident sent us a video via Facebook of fallen Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal. “He laughed and joked with all of us, and left a bright impression on my son who is deaf. We send our condolences to his family and the law enforcement community,” she said. Deputy Dhaliwal is an incredible loss not only to our HCSO family but to the entire community.
Posted by Harris County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, 27 September 2019
The mom told the Sheriff’s office:
“He laughed and joked with all of us, and left a bright impression on my son who is deaf. We send our condolences to his family and the law enforcement community.”
According to USA Today, Dhaliwal was a father of three himself and “had a soft spot for children.” And the support doesn’t stop there. Other families have also reached out and shared their experiences with Dhaliwal:
Pictures keep coming in. I’m blown away. Houstonians loved Dhaliwali. Like Braiden, 4. Mom wrote me: “My son was telling him he wanted to be a police officer when he grows up. Deputy Dhaliwal told my son to change the world and follow his dreams.” #abc13 https://t.co/NHxsSR76LQ pic.twitter.com/pf19Q0GG93
— Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) September 28, 2019
Amanda Williams sent us these photos & message.
“My son, Connor, met Deputy Dhaliwal at the Goforth memorial. They were smitten with one another from the moment they met. He was such a wonderful man. Such a tragic loss.”
Houston is in mourning -> https://t.co/kCuqauuWE4. #abc13 pic.twitter.com/7aArx9Ke5w
— Steve Campion (@SteveABC13) September 27, 2019
And as Sheriff Ed Gonzalez wrote on Twitter, a makeshift memorial to celebrate the deputy’s life and service has been growing in their community.
A grateful community remembers fallen @HCSOTexas Deputy Dhaliwal. This makeshift memorial is growing as a steady flow of people have come from throughout the community to show their support. Deputy Dhaliwal loved serving this community and they loved him back.#HouNews #lesm pic.twitter.com/xRScPSuiPT
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) September 28, 2019
Sheriff Gonzalez later told the Houston Chronical:
“He was a hero, a trailblazer. There are no words to speak to how heartbroken we are, how devastated.”
A candlelight vigil is set to take place for Dhaliwal on September 30. He is expected to be laid to rest on October 2.