Newman, CA – A foundation established in honor of a fallen 9/11 firefighter has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to pay off the mortgage of slain Newman Police Department Corporal Ronil Singh.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation has collected $350,000 from generous donors – enough to pay off Cpl. Singh’s home and to help establish an educational fund for his 5-month-old son, the foundation’s CEO announced in a FOX News interview on Monday.
During an appearance on “Fox & Friends” the week prior, CEO Frank Siller asked supporters to make donations on behalf of Cpl. Singh’s widow, Anamika, and their infant son.
Donors from all 50 states – as well as Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Armenia, New Zealand, Israel, and the Aland Islands – answered Siller’s call, KXTV reported.
“I am very proud to announce…that we not only reached the $300,000 to pay off the mortgage, [but] because of the generosity of Americans that we went over that [and] were able to give them an extra $50,000 for [their son’s] educational needs,” Siller said in Monday’s update.
But pro-police supporters didn’t stop there.
Many of those who donated specifically to Cpl. Singh’s family also pledged to give $11 per month to help the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty, Siller said.
“I couldn’t be more grateful…that we’ve been able to raise all this money [and] relieve that burden for this great family,” he told FOX News.
Siller said that Anamika asked him to thank everyone who donated to the campaign on her family’s behalf.
“She expressed such relief that she’s never going to have to worry about this mortgage again and that there’s other money to help her son,” he explained.
Tunnel to Towers was established in honor of Siller’s brother, New York Firefighter Stephen Siller, who was killed during the Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York City, the foundation CEO said during a press conference in 2018.
Stephen, the youngest of seven siblings, had just gotten off shift and was headed to play golf with his brothers when he heard about the unthinkable chaos unfolding in Manhattan.
The firefighter turned around and ran nearly two miles through the closed Brooklyn Tunnel and into one of the Twin Towers to help those in need.
“And, he gave his life,” Siller said of his brother.
Through Tunnel to Towers, Stephen’s family has assisted the families of many first responders who left young children behind when they died in the line of duty by paying of their mortgages, he said.
Cpl. Singh, 33, was murdered in the line of duty the day after Christmas, after he checked out on a traffic stop at 12:57 a.m. with a DUI suspect later identified as 32-year-old illegal alien Gustavo Perez Arriaga.
Just moments later, Cpl. Singh radioed there had been “shots fired” at the scene, and officers from multiple agencies immediately responded to his location.
"It was a gunfight," Sheriff Christianson said during a press conference. "Cpl. Singh absolutely tried to defend himself and stop this credible threat."
They found Cpl. Singh suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
He was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Arriaga fled the scene in a gray Dodge Ram pickup prior to other officers’ arrival, leading to the two-day manhunt.
The pickup was later found abandoned near Newman.
“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,” Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said at the time. “He doesn't belong here. He's a criminal."
Six other suspects accused of aiding the self-proclaimed Sureno street gang member in his attempt to escape from the United States have also been arrested.
“They intentionally lied to us,” Sheriff Christianson said during the conference. “They tried to divert us…they misled us, they provided information that was false, all in an attempt to protect [Arriaga].”
They include the accused cop-killer’s brothers, 25-year-old Adrian Virgen, and 34-year-old Conrado Virgen Cervantes, and Arriaga’s coworker, 27-year-old Erik Razo Quiroz.
Ana Leyde Cervantes, 30, Erasmo Villegas, 36, Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda, 59, and Maria Luisa Moreno, 57, have also been arrested for aiding and abetting Arriaga.
Arriaga was transported back to Stanislaus County from Bakersfield, and was wearing Cpl. Singh’s handcuffs during his journey, police said.
Instead, his court-appointed attorney, Stephen Foley, told the judge that he had doubts about Mendoza’s mental competency based on his conversation with his client.
The judge ordered an evaluation to determine whether Mendoza can understand the court proceedings and assist in his own defense. The case cannot continue until the defendant is declared mentally competent.
Córdova gave Mendoza’s attorney five weeks to submit a doctor’s report to the court, during which time he will remain held without bail in the Stanislaus County jail, the Modesto Bee reported.