Just an hour after Christmas ended on Wednesday morning, Cpl. Ronil Singh, an officer with the Stanislaus County Sheriff in Newman, California, was gunned down during a routine traffic stop. A two-day manhunt ensued for the man who had killed him, and now Kern County sheriff’s deputies have arrested the suspect, a man by the name of Gustavo Perez Arriaga.
According to a report by USA Today, Perez Arriaga was tracked down to a house in Bakersfield, California, about 280 miles away from the scene of the crime.
The suspect was identified on Thursday, according to Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson. The sheriff added that Perez Arriaga, who is Mexican, had been living in the United States illegally.
“We were never more than a step behind this guy,” Christianson said in a press conference.
Two other men with connections to the case were also arrested on Thursday. Adrian Virgen, 25, and Erik Razo Quiroz, 27, have been accused of helping Perez Arriaga to escape after he killed Singh. The men are the suspect’s brother and coworker respectively.
“We had them in custody, asked them for their cooperation, and they lied to us,” Christianson said.
Perez Arriaga has known gang affiliations, and two prior arrests for drunk driving.
According to Christianson, Perez Arriaga goes by multiple aliases, even holding multiple Facebook accounts under different names.
“This suspect is in our country illegally,” Christianson said. “He doesn’t belong here. He is a criminal.”
Virgen and Quiroz have also been living in the U.S. illegally.
On Thursday, prior to the arrests, President Donald Trump also weighed in on the search for the suspect, using the officer’s slaying as further evidence that a wall needs to be built along the country’s southern border with Mexico.
“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. Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!” he wrote on Twitter.
Singh is the first officer in Newman to lose his life in the line of duty. He had pulled Perez Arriaga over because he suspected the 32-year-old was driving under the influence. Instead, the Mexican started shooting at him, and he fired back in self-defense. The suspect fled the scene, and police found his abandoned pickup truck nearby.
Singh was still alive on the scene when first responders arrived, but he passed away from his injuries in the hospital a short time later. He leaves behind a wife and a baby boy.