Deputy Dhaliwal of Texas Shot and Killed During Traffic Stop Friday, Known For Being Allowed to Wear Turban, Beard on Duty

A sheriff's deputy in Texas beamed with pride when the sheriff allowed him to wear his Sikh turban and a beard while on duty. The Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) and Houston community now mourn the death of Sandeep Dhaliwal, who was shot Friday while on duty.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Deputy Dhaliwal pulled a vehicle over during a traffic stop west of Jersey Village, which is in the northwest area of Houston. Gonzalez said the suspect shot Dhaliwal from behind, "at least a couple of times" in a "very ruthless, cold-blooded way" before taking off, according to KHOU, the CBS affiliate in Houston.

Crewmembers from the nearby Cy-Fair Fire Department performed CPR on Dhaliwal before he was taken by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Houston deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal
Harris County (TX) Sheriff's deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal was and killed Friday during a traffic stop in Jersey Village, which is part of Northwest Houston. Photo courtesy of Harris County TX Sheriff's Office Twitter

A suspect is in custody and has been taken to jail, and a woman who is believed by HCSO to have been in the suspect's car has also been taken into custody. KHOU reported shooting suspect has an open warrant for parole violation.

The shooting Friday happened in a neighborhood cul-de-sac in the 14800 block of Willancy Court at West Road. Once the shooting was reported, law enforcement officers from multiple agencies gathered at a nearby gas station to search for the suspect.

Dhaliwal was a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, and its first member of the Sikh community. Former Sheriff Adrian Garcia allowed him to wear a turban while on duty, as well as his beard.

Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal beamed with pride when then-Sheriff @AdrianGarciaHTX announced he could wear his Sikh turbin and a beard while on duty. #hounews

— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) September 27, 2019

Sheriff Gonzalez said Dhaliwal was a father of three children, and that the department is mourning Dhaliwal's death as he is a member of their family.

"We ask you to support the family because they're devastated," Gonzalez said. "We're a family. We'll pull together during this difficult time."

Gonzalez said Dhaliwal was "very respected" and a "leader in every sense of the word."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement that said the state mourns the loss of Dhaliwal and all officers lost in the line of duty.

"Today, Cecilia and I join Texans in mourning the loss of the Harris County Sheriff's deputy who was shot and killed in the line of duty," Abbott said. "It is with heavy hearts that we send our deepest sympathies to the deputy's family, friends, and his brothers and sisters in law enforcement. This tragic loss is a grave reminder of the risks that our law enforcement officers face every single day. I thank the officers who bravely responded to apprehend the suspect, and I assure you that the state of Texas is committed to bringing this killer to justice. Cecilia and I ask all Texans to join us in praying for the family and the entire Harris County Sheriff's Department."

Other local law enforcement agencies announced their condolences for HCSO on Friday after the news of Dhaliwal's shooting death.

The men and women of @houstonpolice stand with HCSO brothers & sisters.

Our hearts go out to our fallen brother, his family, friends, colleagues and extended community. May his joyful spirit brighten the Heavens and may he rest in eternal peace. #HCSOStrongUnited

— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) September 27, 2019

We thank Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal for his devoted service to Harris County. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP, sir.

— FBCSO Texas (@FBCSO) September 27, 2019

Prayers for our brothers and sisters in law enforcement as they cope with a terrible loss today.

— Spring Fire Department (@Springfdtx) September 27, 2019