Police officer Ronil Singh spent every second he possibly could with his family on Christmas before he began what would be his final shift.
Heartbreaking photos show the 33-year-old hero cop from the Newman Police Department in California with his wife Anamika, their five-month-old son and his beloved dog.
They are beaming on the floor of his home in Modesto in front of the unwrapped presents under their tree for what would have been the youngster’s first holidays.
A few hours later, Singh was shot dead by an illegal immigrant during a traffic stop.
His colleagues are now part of a massive manhunt to track down the killer, while President Trump has seized on the slaying to help fuel his argument to build the wall.
‘There is right now a full scale manhunt going on in California for an illegal immigrant accused of shooting and killing a police officer during a traffic stop,’ Trump tweeted.
‘Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!’
Newman police said Thursday evening that detectives performed a search warrant at a property in El Nido of Merced County, but had no luck.
‘The suspect was not located at the property and the investigation remains fluid. We will have no details at this time regarding the search warrant,’ the department said.
Christianson said the suspect ‘doesn’t belong here’ and that ‘he is a criminal’.
President Donald Trump on Thursday seized on the case of the illegal immigrant cop-killer to renew his argument that the U.S. should erect a wall on its southern border.
Singh had pulled over a gray pickup truck in the small town 100 miles south of San Francisco, after noticing it had no license plate.
Singh fired back to defend himself, Christianson said.
Trump also quoted a 2011 tweet from former President Barack Obama, who was repeating a line from his State of the Union address when he wrote: ‘I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration.’
‘I totally agree!’ Trump added Thursday, before tying Singh’s murder to the hot-button issue.
Christianson has flown in Trump’s orbit before. He sat next to the president during a May 16 event at the White House focused on opposition to ‘sanctuary city’ policies that prohibit law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
‘There shouldn’t be anybody interfering with a sheriff’s ability, a chief’s ability, or anybody in this room at this table today from defending people against those who exploit and victimize them,’ he said then.
‘There should be no interference in our ability to protect our communities, to protect our national security.’
Authorities in California’s central valley have found the truck believed to belong to the unnamed suspect who remains at large.
The vehicle, believed to have been the one stopped by Singh, was found in a garage in a mobile home park about four miles away from the scene of the shooting.
The silver extended-cab Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck was seen in the area at the time of the shooting, and had paper plates on the vehicle, which read ‘AR Auto.’
Working from several tips from the public, police discovered it about 13 hours after the shooting at a River Road mobile home park just south of Azevedo Road, where law enforcement officers were serving a search warrant.
Police confirmed the pickup was the one believed to have been driven by the suspect.
Crime scene tape was seen inside the mobile home park, where several media outlets from surrounding counties converged late Wednesday afternoon.
‘There’s lots of potential evidence,’ a police spokesperson said. ‘Fingerprints, DNA, gunshot residue and physical evidence. We’ll be processing the truck to get any evidence to help in the prosecution.’
The unidentified suspect, who was pictured on security camera footage entering a store shortly before the fatal shots were fired, remains a fugutive.
Singh was found with multiple bullet wounds, and was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The sheriff’s office released surveillance stills of the suspect and the gray pickup truck found near the location of the shooting.
The suspected gunman appears in the images in an unzipped hooded sweatshirt and wearing a gold chain while purchasing items in a store.
Singh was a native of Fiji and the father of an infant son. He joined the Newman police force in 2011.
Earlier in his career, Singh worked as a deputy with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.
‘He was living the American dream,’ said Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Royjinder Singh, who is not related to the slain officer but knew him.
‘He loved camping, loved hunting, loved fishing, loved his family,’ the deputy said.
On his Facebook page, Singh posted Christmas Eve pictures 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.
Outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown offered condolences to Singh’s family and said flags at the state Capitol would fly at half staff in his honor.
‘Our hearts are with the entire community of Newman and law enforcement officers across the state who risk their lives every day to protect and serve the people of California,’ Brown said.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Jessica Schroeder, George Martin, and David Martosko