(AP) - The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department released new photographs Friday in its search for the man suspected of shooting and killing a Newman Police officer.
Cpl. Ronal Singh, who emigrated from his native Fiji, was shot at about 1 a.m. Wednesday after stopping a suspected drunken driver in Newman, southeast of San Francisco in the San Joaquin Valley.
There was a gunfight as Singh "absolutely tried to defend himself" but he apparently didn't hit the suspect, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, whose agency is leading the investigation, said Thursday.
The man suspected of killing him the day after Christmas remained at large Friday despite a manhunt and was considered armed and dangerous.
While law enforcement agencies throughout California had been alerted, the man was believed to still be in the local area.
"We will find him, we will arrest him and we will bring him to justice," the sheriff said. Investigators Thursday searched a farmhouse in the town of El Nido in neighboring Merced County but didn't find the suspect, authorities said.
His name wasn't released but he was in the United States illegally.
"He doesn't belong here. He is a criminal," Christianson said Thursday.
Singh was the first officer to die in the line of duty, Chief Randy Richardson said.
Singh, a 33-year-old with a newborn son, was an "American patriot," the chief said.
"He came to America with one purpose, and that was to serve this country," Richardson said.
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.
Singh is survived by his wife, Anamika, and their 5-month-old son.
"Please help us find this coward," Richardson said of Singh's killer. "We need closure, his family needs closure."