(CNN) — The dash cam of a Texas sheriff’s deputy helped identify his alleged killer who was later arrested at a business less than a mile away from the scene, authorities said.
Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal was an observant Sikh and gained national attention after he got permission to wear a turban as part of his uniform when he joined the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. He was conducting a traffic stop Friday when he was shot in the head, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
The shooter fled the scene but authorities identified him by looking at Dhaliwal’s dash cam video. They took a photo of the suspect from the dash cam and immediately got it out, Gonzalez said.
Robert Solis, 47, was arrested at a nearby business and faces capital murder charges, the sheriff’s office said. A woman who was in the vehicle with him was also taken into custody.
Authorities arrested him at an ice cream shop, where he’d been for nearly half an hour before he was taken into custody, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.
A ‘cold-blooded ambush’
Maj. Mike Lee described what started as a regular traffic stop based on the review of Dhaliwal’s dash cam.
The video shows Dhaliwal speaking with the driver with “no combat, no arguing,” Lee told CNN affiliate KTRK. The driver’s door was open at one point as the deputy and driver were talking.
Dhaliwal shut the driver’s door as the driver remained in the vehicle. As he turned to walk back to his patrol car, the driver’s side door opened and a man exited the vehicle “almost immediately running with a gun already out,” Lee said.
The dash cam captured the fatal moment Dhaliwal was shot from behind in the back of the head, Lee said.
“In a cold-blooded manner, ambush style, (he) shot Deputy Dhaliwal from behind,” Gonzalez said. The weapon deputies believe was used to kill him has been recovered. “It’s the worst day, the worst nightmare for any police executive.”
The shooter returned to his vehicle and drove away. A nearby resident who was doing yard work heard the gunshots and rushed to help the deputy.
Adrian Garcia, Harris County police commissioner, said Dhaliwal was a beloved deputy.
“This guy had a heart of gold. He treated his brothers and sisters in law enforcement as if they were just brothers and sisters. He thought of them before he thought of himself. He thought of the broader community before he thought of himself,” Garcia said.
He leaves behind a legacy as a trailblazer
Dhaliwal is survived by his wife and three children.
He leaves behind a legacy as a trailblazer for the department he served for a decade. In 2015, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office made an official policy that allowed him to wear his beard and turban on duty, making him the first member of the Sikh community to join the sheriff’s office, according to KTRK.
“As a Sikh American, I felt the need to represent the Sikh community in law enforcement,” Dhaliwal said at the time. “It will give me the chance to open up the conversation.”
Prior to becoming a deputy, Dhaliwal was an entrepreneur with a trucking business. He found out that the Harris County Sheriff’s Office needed someone like him to build bridges with the Sikh community and sold his business. He took lower pay as a detention officer and worked his way up to be a deputy, Garcia said.
Dhaliwal represented the community’s diversity and inclusiveness, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted.
“He wore the turban, he represented his community with integrity, respect and pride and he was respected by all,” Gonzalez said.
Sikhism is the world’s fifth most popular religion. It is a monotheistic faith that believes in equality and service to others.
There are 25 million Sikhs around the world and about 500,000 in the United States, according to The Sikh Coalition.