HOUSTON - Sunday marked one year since Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal was killed in the line of duty. Last year, Dhaliwal was ambushed while conducting a traffic stop, shot and killed.
As the sun began to set on Sunday, Wortham Grove Park lit up in candlelight as the community joined Dhaliwal's family to commemorate the one-year anniversary of his death.
His sister, Herpeet Rai, was still visibly shaken by the tragic and sudden loss of her brother.
"I screamed. I screamed - find my brother, find my brother. Something happened to my brother," Rai said.
Dhaliwal’s father, Praya Dhaliwal, said he was humbled by the show of support from Houstonians and beyond.
"Thank you to the community who gave me so much support, so much energy to get through this hard time and not only here, but around the nation, around the world," Dhaliwal said.
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Earlier that day, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez led the tribute as the Harris County Sheriff’s Office remembered their fallen brother. First, with a memorial procession Sunday morning through the Copperbrook community -- the district the 41-year-old patrolled and protected.
"It’s bittersweet. It’s bitter because we remember a young life taken much too soon. But it’s sweet because we must remember what Sandeep brought in his very short years of life," Gonzalez said.
"Sandeep definitely left a big mark. He was almost larger than life in the sense that he was such a unique individual. He was a humanitarian. He was a public servant. He was a husband, a father, a son. He carried so many different roles," Gonzalez continued.
Following the procession was a private prayer service for Dhaliwal’s family and the grand unveiling of a stone memorial for his trailblazing legacy.
In 2015, Deputy Dhaliwal became the first officer in the state to wear a turban and a beard while on duty. Those markers of his faith paved the way for other Sikhs to proudly wear their religious articles while serving in law enforcement.
RELATED: Houston PD changes dress code to allow religious clothing, in honor of fallen Dep. Sandeep Dhaliwal
"When I see all of the other deputies that remind me of Sandeep, that are stepping forward like Sandeep did to service, I am proud of you. It just reinforces the idea that this tree is living in the image and in the spirit of Sandeep and it will continue to make us a better and stronger and more loving community," said HCSO Pct 2 Commissioner, Adrian Garcia.
Dhaliwal will always be remembered for his unwavering commitment to his community, his sacrifice, and his service.
Robert Solis, the man accused of shooting and killing Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, was indicted by a grand jury on capital murder charges back in December.
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