Authorities were searching for a gunman who shot and killed a police officer during a traffic stop in a small California town. The officer, Ronil Singh, emigrated to the US from Fiji.

A FIJI born man was shot and killed during a traffic stop around 1am on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in California.

According to overseas media reports 33-year-old Newman police officer Ronil Singh pulled over to make a traffic stop at Merced Street and Eucalyptus Avenue and moments later he was heard over the radio saying “shots fired.”

The search continues for the suspect who fatally shot Mr Singh in the community of Newman in California early last night.

Singh was conducting a traffic stop last night in the town of Newman when he called out “shots fired” over his radio, The Fiji Times reported.

Authorities said the shooter had fled when back‑up arrived to assist Singh.

Multiple agencies responded and found Singh with gunshot wounds. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A manhunt was underway for the killer, who was believed to be driving a gray Dodge Ram pickup when the shooting happened around 1 a.m. in Newman, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco.

Authorities released photographs of the suspect and the truck that were taken by surveillance cameras at a convenience store moments before the traffic stop, said Sgt. Tom Letras, a sheriff’s spokesman.

He said authorities do not know the suspect’s name.

In the photos, the heavyset suspect with short dark hair is wearing jeans, navy blue hoodie and navy T-shirt with a thick chain necklace.

This Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018 image from a surveillance camera video and provided by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department shows a suspect police are searching for in connection to the fatal shooting of an officer during a traffic stop in Northern California. (Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

Singh was a native of Fiji and had worked since July 2011 for the police department in Newman, a town of about 10,000 people.

On his Facebook page, Singh posted pictures on Christmas Eve from a deep sea fishing trip that produced a big haul of crabs and fish. The profile picture shows him smiling as he stands at a patrol car with a dog — the same photograph of the officer released by the sheriff’s department.

The officer who is survived by his wife and young son was rushed to a hospital and died from gunshot wounds.

Source: The Associated Press & Fiji Times