Ever since Sandeep Dhaliwal, a Texas sheriff’s deputy and devout Sikh, killed in the line of duty last Friday, Sept. 27, people have been placing flowers, ribbons, and wreaths along the street where he was shot. Papa John’s pizza is making a generous offer to help support his family.
The Harris County sheriff’s deputy, who first made national headlines after being granted permission to wear his turban and beard while on duty, was fatally shot during a traffic stop in northwest Harris County.
Dhaliwal pulled over a car with two people inside just before 12:30 p.m. and had what appeared to be a peaceful interaction with the driver. However, as the deputy walked back to his patrol car, the civilian—who has since been identified as 47-year-old Robert Solis―pulled out a gun within seconds, and “ran up from behind and basically ambushed” him, shooting him in the back of the head, Maj. Mike Lee of the Harris County Sheriff’s Department said.
Dhaliwal was rushed by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital where he was pronounced dead later.
Robert Solis was arrested and charged with capital murder. He also had at least one open warrant for a parole violation, dating back to January 2017. A woman who deputies believe was a passenger in Solis’s car was also taken into custody.
— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) September 28, 2019
Dhaliwal’s death has been deeply felt in his community. The deputy’s 10-year career was remarkable not just for breaking barriers, but for his volunteerism and popularity in the Houston area. His father, Piara Singh Dhaliwal, told CBS News that his son was a “pillar of strength for the Sikh faith, community, and our family.”
One Harris County resident who sent a video to the sheriff’s office of Dhaliwal playing with her deaf son to show the depth of his connection to the community.
This video captures the essence of who Deputy Dhaliwal was. He touched countless of lives along the way. A legacy that will never be forgotten. We will aspire to be as good as he was. #HouNews #lesm https://t.co/c3i2eBBLMv
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) September 28, 2019
On Monday afternoon, the Solis family said they wished to share kind words during this difficult time of sorrow:
“Our hearts are broken for Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal’s family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, the community supporting him and the honorable officers who he came into contact with. We are struggling to find understanding of this senseless and individual act influenced by fear, while also praying for our own families affected in this devastation. We wish for peace on both sides, and hope that Robert will seek Christ above all else.”
Now, Texans are giving back in honor of the slain deputy.
Multiple organizations have started GoFundMe pages to raise money to help his wife and three children. Sikhs of Houston have raised more than $400,000 and United Sikhs raised another $175,000 by Monday, according to FOX 26 Houston.
Papa John’s Houston is donating profits all day Tuesday from its 78 greater Houston-area locations to the Dhaliwal family. Papa Johns said it is extending the fundraiser through Friday, Oct. 4. When people order a pizza using the promo code HOUSTONCARES, the profits will all go to Deputy Dhaliwal’s family, KHOU 11 News reported.