'One minute you're celebrating and one minute you're not there': Loved ones remember Newman police officer killed

NEWMAN, Calif. -- "Like why, for what?" It is the question Susana Martinez has for the suspect accused of shooting and killing Newman Cpr. Ronil Singh after purchasing alcohol from her early Wednesday morning at a small town convenience store.

"As soon as he left my friend said Officer Singh just pulled him over. We went outside to see what was happening and the shots went off," Martinez said.

VIDEO: 'Please remember the man': Police chief gives emotional statement, calling slain Newman Cpl. Ronil Singh an 'American patriot'

At least one of those shots hit 33-year-old Ronil Singh.

The seven-year veteran of the force was a husband and father to a 5-month-old baby boy.

Martinez left struggling to understand how this happened to someone she often saw while at work.

"It's a lot just seeing detectives, cops trying to find this person and they can't and I can't go home it's a lot to process," she said.

Over the phone, our sister station Action News in Fresno spoke with a close family friend who says Singh had just finished celebrating Christmas with his family before his life was tragically taken away them.

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"It's unbelievable. One minute you're celebrating and one minute you're not there. All I can say is just, why? Why, you know, why? Not just why him, but what's so important to take someone's life like that, it just is not right," said Alvin Singh.

Loved ones say Singh enjoyed fishing, being on the water, and riding ATVS.

But outside his adventurous personality his uncle tells us the Fiji native was a role model and their American dream.

"I'm 58-years-old and I was not that thoughtful caring and kind at his age I was a mean person. All my troubles seem so far away after this. Very devastating. He's respectful he's humble he's very humble," he said.

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As the search for the suspect continues into the night, Martinez is keeping his family and law enforcement community in her thoughts and prayers.

"My condolences to them it must be real hard to go through something like that my prayers to them. He was a really nice person," she said.

And it is still unclear why the suspect was pulled over. However, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office is expected to hold a press conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday to release new details about this shooting.

Tonight though they are asking anyone who may know who and where the suspect is to contact Detective Michael Fisher at 209-525-7083 or dispatch at 209-552-2468.

If you have any tips, you can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Tipsters can also e-mail tips at http://www.modestopolice.com/CrimeStoppers.

Take a look at the latest stories, videos and updates on the shooting death of Corporal Ronil Singh.
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