The man accused of gunning down Houston’s first Sikh sheriff’s deputy Friday has been denied bail.
Harris County Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal was shot twice in the head after pulling over a silver Nissan Altima for speeding through a stop sign. The driver, alleged shooter Robert Solis, was wanted for a parole violation, authorities said Saturday.
“(Dhaliwal) was just a gem of a person; he was a beautiful soul,” said friend Simran Jeet Singh on Saturday. “Everyone who knew him admired him greatly.”
Solis, 47, was convicted of two felonies in 2002 for an incident in which he shot a man before barricading himself inside a home with his 4-year-old son "with intent to use (him) as a shield,” according to court records.
He was sentenced to 20 years behind bars, but served only 12 years before being paroled in 2014, reported the Houston Chronicle.
In 2017, a warrant was issued for parole violations of assault and possession of a prohibited weapon, according to court documents.
Solis is charged with capital murder for allegedly shooting Dhaliwal twice in the back of the head as the deputy returned to his patrol car. Dhaliwal was airlifted to a nearby hospital before being declared dead.
Authorities aren’t viewing the shooting as a hate crime and received “credible information” that Solis might have an intellectual disability, reported The Associated Press.
Hardam Azad, the chair of Houston’s Sikh National Center, said Dhaliwal, who was married with three kids, would speak with youth at the center while showing off his sheriff’s badge to show that anyone had the potential to achieve greatness.
“Ever since 9/11 happened, a lot of hate crimes have occurred against the Sikhs,” explained Azad. “The way to counter that was exactly the kind of service Sandeep Dhaliwal provided to the larger community.”