Thousands pay respect to slain Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh during memorial in Modesto

Vanessa Vasconcelos Image
Sunday, January 6, 2019
REMEMBERING A HERO: Thousands pay respects to fallen Cpl. Ronil Singh
REMEMBERING A HERO: Thousands pay respects to fallen Cpl. Ronil Singh

MODESTO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "I know Ron is up there looking down," Overwhelmed with grief, Chief Randy Richardson of the Newman Police department fought back tears as he paid tribute to his comrade.

"Never did I think we'd be standing here saying goodbye to such a great man," said Chief Richardson.

Corporal Ronil Singh, killed in the line of duty Christmas night, leaves behind a wife and 5-month-old baby -- seen in home videos played at his memorial.

Thousands of sheriff's deputies, CHP and police officers filled Cross Point Community Church in Modesto before escorting Singh in a seven mile procession to his final resting place.

There were so many people in attendance there were two additional buildings for overflow to see and hear the memorial -- even those had lines outside the doors.

"To see a young man cut down in the prime of his life and to see him so engaged with his community it tears at the heart of everything that's going on," said Merced County Sheriff Verne Warnke.

"It's a loss for everybody his family to the law enforcement community as well," said Sergeant Rudy Ruiz with the Fresno Police Department.

For some the reality hit too close to home.

Los Banos police officer Efren Fernandez worked with Singh for two years while they were at neighboring agencies.

"He was my backup partner I was his backup partner so we were close friends," Fernandez said.

Fernandez says seeing the support from other agencies and the community makes him proud to wear the badge and knows Singh leaves behind a lasting legacy.

"He did what he loved doing he gave everything to his job to his community and he was proud to be an American," said Fernandez.

Many people lined the procession route with blue ribbons and flags to pay their respects.