7 Accomplices Arrested For Aiding Cpl. Singh's Killer
Bakersfield, CA – A Mexican national who is accused of murdering a California police officer was arrested along with seven other people who were charged with being accomplices for helping the suspect elude authorities.
After a massive manhunt, Gustavo Perez Arriaga, an illegal immigrant with gang affiliations, was arrested Friday.
The arrest was made 200 miles away from where he gunned down Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh at a traffic stop at 1 a.m., according to ABC News.
SWAT team members surrounded the house in Bakersfield where the suspect was in and the 32-year-old surrendered without incident.
Among the seven other accomplices arrested in the aftermath include a woman said to be Arriaga’s girlfriend and two of his brothers, according to police.
Adrian Virgen, Arriaga’s brother, and co-worker Erik Razo Quiroz were arrested as accomplices, according to police. Conrado Virgen Mendoza, another brother to Arriaga, and Arriaga’s girlfriend Ana Leyde Cervantes were arrested Friday for helping Arriaga evade police, ABC reported.
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said three other people were also arrested in South Valley for aiding and abetting Arriaga.
Sheriff Youngblood said that Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda, Erasmo Villegas and Maria Lusia Moreno were all arrested at the house in Bakersfield, according to ABC.
Their legal status was not released.
Arriaga was a farm laborer who had two prior DUI arrests and is affiliated with the Surenos street gang, according to ABC. Arriaga is suspected of having been under the influence when he fatally shot Cpl. Singh. Police believe that Arriaga was alone when he murdered Cpl. Singh.
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson criticized the state's newly enacted SB 54 law, which is credited with making California a sanctuary state.
The law was passed in October in protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and it limits the cooperation that California law enforcement can have with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), ABC reported.
“This is a criminal illegal alien with prior criminal activity that should have been reported to ICE. We were prohibited, law enforcement was prohibited, because of sanctuary laws, and that led to the encounter with Officer Singh,” Sheriff Christianson said, according to ABC.
"This suspect, unlike Ron – who immigrated to this country lawfully and legally to pursue his lifelong career of public safety, public service and being a police officer – this suspect is in our country illegally. He doesn't belong here. He's a criminal," Sheriff Christianson said during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
During an emotional press conference on Thursday, Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson described Cpl. Singh as a "true patriot," and said that he immigrated to the U.S. specifically to become a police officer.
"That's all he wanted to do," Chief Richardson said. "You've never seen a man smile more than him."
The last time he saw Cpl. Singh was at 4 a.m. on Christmas day, as the chief was relieving him so he could go spend a few hours celebrating the holiday with his wife and infant son.
"My department is hurting," Chief Richardson said through tears. "We are struggling through this."