Houston mourns "senseless" killing of beloved deputy

Houston suspect charged with murder of police officer

Last Updated Sep 28, 2019 8:54 PM EDT

A suspect has been charged with what police call the "cold-blooded murder" of an officer in Houston. Authorities said the suspect shot Harris County Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal in the back of the head as he walked back to his patrol car during a routine traffic stop.

There is heartbreak in the Houston area as the community grieved the Dhaliwal's death late Friday. His father, Piara Singh Dhaliwal, told CBS News in a statement that his son was a "pillar of strength for the Sikh faith, community and our family."

"While we are completely heartbroken by the immense loss we feel, we find solace in knowing Sandeep will forever be in the hearts and memory of so many he touched," the statement read. "His Chardi Kala shined brightly before the world and we are so grateful for the public outpouring of support, prayers and positive messages we have received during this tragic time."

Videos like this of him befriending a deaf child are now emerging that show the depth of his connection to community.

The 10-year veteran was shot in the head multiple times as he returned to his car after a traffic stop. The attack was recorded on his vehicle's dashcam. 

Deputy Slain Texas
In this Aug. 30, 2015, photo, Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, center, grieves with Deputies Dixon, left, and Seibert, right, at a memorial for Deputy Darren Goforth, at the Chevron where he was killed, in Houston. Dhaliwal was shot and killed while making a traffic stop Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, near Houston. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP) Jon Shapley / AP

"It was senseless," said Harris County Sheriff Major Mike Lee. "It was a total ambush by the suspect. The deputy never had a chance."

The alleged shooter, 47-year-old Robert Solis, has been charged with capital murder. Investigators said he has a long criminal history and was wanted for parole violation, but would not speculate on motive.

"To be shot so violently — ambush-style — is just beyond words," said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. 

Dhaliwal was a trailblazer — one of the first deputies in Texas to wear the traditional Sikh turban while on duty.

"This is a person from the Sikh community who made history literally from across the globe," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. 

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CBS News

Law enforcement officers were seen saluting in tribute after efforts to save the deputy failed at a Houston hospital.

On Saturday, a GoFundMe page has been set up to support his family. The 42-year-old was a father of three children.