Thousands attend fallen Sikh cop's 'fit for a king' funeral
Houston: Thousands of people from all walks of life turned out for the day-long ceremonies here on Wednesday to honour slain Indian-American police officer Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, who was shot dead on duty during a traffic stop.
Dhaliwal, 42, was the first Sikh sheriff's deputy in Harris County with a population of over 10,000 Sikhs. He made national headlines when he was allowed to grow a beard and wear a turban on the job.
He was gunned down while conducting a routine mid-day traffic stop in northwest of Houston on Friday.
The fallen deputy's funeral included processions, a traditional Sikh funeral and a law enforcement funeral with a 21-gun salute from fellow officers and a helicopter flyover.
As 'Amazing Grace' was played on the bagpipes, members of Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) folded the American flag that covered his casket and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez presented it to Dhaliwal's widow who clutched it to her heart.
After final ceremonies from the law enforcement memorial service, the Dhaliwal family and members of HCSO headed to the Winford Funeral Home for a closed cremation.
The procession route was lined with blue and white signs reading "Always in Our Hearts," and "In Loving Memory of Deputy Dhaliwal."
People had posted custom yard signs, billboards and flowers all along the route and in the neighbourhood.
At the service, Simratpal Singh, a US Army Captain, flanked by other members of the Sikh community in military service, described Dhaliwal as "humble, fearless, not dissuaded by negativity."
"Our lion may be gone physically but his legacy of selfless service and of breaking down barriers will continue to live," he said.
Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking before thousands during the Sikh part of the ceremony, addressed Dhaliwal's wife and three children in saying the community "supports you and lifts you up."
"We are grateful for your father's service, and his sacrifice and his legacy," Cruz said.