California Sheriff Blames Sanctuary Cities For Death Of Deputy Killed By Undocumented Immigrant

A California sheriff says that were it not for so-called “sanctuary cities,” one of his deputies would still be alive, KION-TV (Monterey) is reporting.

Last week, Newman Police Department corporal Ronil Singh pulled over Gustavo Perez Arriaga, 32, on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). About three minutes after initiating the stop, according to the Modesto Bee, a “shots fired” call came into dispatch. When backup arrived, they found Singh on the ground — he was taken to a hospital, where he later died. Arriaga had allegedly fled the scene.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said at the time that a minor DUI stop is hardly a reason to take an officer’s life.

“For a suspect to take an officer’s life over a driving under the influence, doesn’t make any logical sense to me, nor anyone else. But no traffic stop and no contact in today’s world is run of the mill.”

Arriaga was later arrested near Bakersfield, hundreds of miles to the south. Authorities believe he was headed for Mexico.

Arriaga was in the country illegally, having crossed the border into Arizona some number of years ago, finding work as a farm laborer, eventually making his way to the Modesto area. He also had a rap sheet of DUIs and was believed to have ties to Modesto’s affiliate of the Sureño Street Gang.

By all rights, says Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, Arriaga should have been reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and then deported the first time he racked up a DUI. However, Arriaga flew under the radar, because Modesto — like so many other cities in California — is a “sanctuary city.”

Sanctuary cities are cities in which the municipal police limit their cooperation with ICE and other federal authorities about the crimes, movements, and whereabouts of undocumented immigrants. Ostensibly, the cities exist to provide a somewhat-safe haven where they can move about freely. Critics say that the cities shield criminals.

Christianson says Singh would be alive today if not for sanctuary cities.

“My point is why are we providing sanctuary to gang members, criminals, it’s a conversation we need to have… this is a criminal illegal alien, with prior criminal activity that should have been reported to Ice. If he wasn’t here, he wouldn’t have been driving drunk and he wouldn’t be reported to officer Singh and the encounter, the stop, the enforcement stop, potentially never would have occurred.”

Meanwhile, five other people, including a family member and a co-worker of Arriaga’s, have been arrested in connection with his alleged attempt to flee the country.