New Delhi: Sandeep Dhaliwal, a 42-year-old Indian-American Sikh police officer was shot dead during a mid-day traffic stop in US State of Texas. Dhaliwal, the first-ever turbaned Sikh cop to serve Texas became a national figure after convincing the Texas police department to allow him to wear religious attire and grow a beard while on patrol. He had been pushing for a historic expansion of religious rights in the department.

As per the officials, Dhaliwal, a 10-year veteran, was attacked when he stopped a vehicle with a man and woman inside and one of them got out and shot him ‘ambush-style’ at least twice in a “ruthless, cold-blooded way. Later, the shooter ran away to a nearby shopping centre.

After a brief search, authorities arrested the 47-year-old Robert Solis and “charged with the capital murder”. It is not yet clear if it was a hate crime. Reports claimed that Dhaliwal was shot in the head multiple times. He was airlifted to the hospital, where he breathed his last.

Reacting over the killing Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said,”Deeply grieved to learn of the shooting of Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, a Sikh Indian-American officer in Houston, USA. We have just visited that city. My condolences to his family.”

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, a close friend of Dhaliwal said that the entire Texas police department is ‘heartbroken to lose a hero, a leader in this violent tragic manner’.

“He was a hero, a trailblazer. There are no words to speak to how heartbroken we are, how devastated,” he added.