Thousands attend funeral for slain Newman police officer in Modesto

MODESTO, Calif. (KGO) -- An echo of bagpipes filled the cold air throughout Modesto on Saturday morning. The sound marked the start of the day no one there wanted to come.

Thousands of law enforcement and community members were in Modesto to honor the life of Newman Police Officer Corporal Ronil Singh.

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"To the family, I want you to know I'm sorry and that I will always be here if you ever need anything," Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson said. "You guys are my family too."

33-year-old Singh was killed in the line of duty the morning after Christmas. He had taken a photo in front of a Christmas tree with his 5-month-old son and wife just hours before he was shot.

His death sparked a manhunt across California. The suspect, Paulo Virgen Mendoza, was charged with murder Wednesday.

Corporal Singh's brother, Reggie Singh, opened his eulogy thanking law enforcement, and went on to tell stories about his brother.

"When we first got our television, he (Cpl. Singh) started watching Cops and he always wanted to be a law enforcement officer in the United States," Reggie Singh said.

Corporal Singh was an immigrant from Fiji and was living his American dream.

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"Not how did he die, but how did he live?" Solo Mara, Fijian Ambassador to the United States, said. "Not what did he gain, but what did he give?"

Corporal Singh gave the ultimate sacrifice.

"Newman police and the Newman community is where his heart and soul was," Modesto Police Detective Ra Pouv said.

Corporal Singh's love was with his family.

The rain picked up as the funeral ended. It was symbolic of the mood on Saturday.

Sikhism believes in transmigration of the soul.

Corporal Singh's body will be cremated.

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A public funeral was held for the 33-year-old in Modesto Saturday morning.

See more videos and stories about Corporal Ronil Singh.
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