The manhunt for an illegal immigrant fugitive suspected of murdering a California police officer has ended, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said during an emotional news conference Friday afternoon.
Authorities arrested Gustavo Perez Arriaga, 32, Friday morning at a home in Bakersfield. He was wanted for the alleged murder of Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh. Arriaga was taken into custody without incident.
Arriaga allegedly gunned down Singh, 33, during a traffic stop early Wednesday in Newman, according to police. He had been on the loose for more than two days when police took him into custody about 280 miles southeast of Newman.
Family members of the slain officer attended the news conference, including Singh's brother who broke down into tears.
What else did the sheriff say?
Christianson told reporters that the suspect had two prior DUIs but sanctuary laws protected him from being reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"We can't ignore the fact that this could have been preventable if law enforcement would not have been prohibited from sharing any of his information with ICE," the sheriff said.
Arriaga, a Mexican national, is believed to have crossed into the U.S. illegally several years ago, according to authorities.
Christianson added that "past behavior is typically an indicator of future behavior" and that border security is crucial to national and local safety.
"We shouldn't politicize it but we have to have a conversation about how to protect the community," he said.
Authorities from the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, along with state and local partners, assisted in locating and arresting the suspect.
The sheriff also pointed out that Officer Singh was an immigrant, but that he had come into the U.S. lawfully and legally so that he could fulfill his dream of being a police officer.
Was anyone else arrested?
Two others — a brother of Arriaga and a co-worker — were arrested Thursday for aiding the suspect who tried to flee to Mexico, according to police.
They are both charged with "accessory after the fact to a felony," according to the sheriff's office.
What charge will the suspect face?
Arriaga is being transported to the Stanislaus County Jail where he will be charged with homicide.
Singh leaves behind a wife and 5-month-old son.
The sheriff's office has set up a memorial fund to help the family of the fallen officer.