The suspect in the fatal shooting of Newman Police Department officer Ronil Singh was arrested in the Lamont area Friday morning, along with three people accused of aiding and abetting him, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said at a press conference.
The suspect, Gustavo Perez Arriaga, 32, was headed for Mexico at the time of his arrest, law enforcement officers believe, and was allegedly helped by multiple people.
Arriaga surrendered “with his hands up” as a Kern County SWAT unit was in the process of surrounding a residence at the 8200 block of Brooks Lane, Youngblood said.
Three other people at the residence, Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda, 59, Erasmo Villegas, 36, and Maria Luisa Moreno, 57, all from Bakersfield, according to the Sheriff’s Office, were also arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting the suspect.
Law enforcement officials believe Arriaga had additional help getting to Kern County from Stanislaus County, where the crime took place.
In a separate press conference Friday, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office revealed that Arraiga’s brother and a co-worker had also been arrested on suspicion of misleading investigators.
“No stone will be unturned for anyone we have information on that helped this suspect try and elude capture,” Youngblood said. “We will go after them.”
After taking him into custody, Kern County law enforcement interviewed Arriaga briefly before transferring him to Stanislaus County in the handcuffs used by Singh, the officer he is accused of killing.
“We’ve been through this before and we know how hard it is,” Youngblood said. “The (police) chief of Newman, the sheriff of Stanislaus and I assured the family during this search that we would find this cop killer. And we did.”
Officer Singh was flagged down by a citizen on Wednesday regarding an intoxicated man in a silver pickup driving in Newman, a Sheriff’s Office report said.
The officer attempted to stop the vehicle. Moments later Singh radioed in that shots had been fired and he had been hit, according to the report.
He was taken to a hospital in Turlock where he was pronounced dead, the report said.
The suspect escaped the scene, and a manhunt ensued that captured the attention of the nation, including President Donald Trump. The media attention escalated after Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson announced that Arriaga was in the United States illegally.
“There is right now a full scale manhunt going on in California for an illegal immigrant accused of shooting and killing a police officer during a traffic stop. Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!” Trump tweeted Thursday.
That same day Youngblood received a call from Christianson, he said, in which the Stanislaus sheriff told him Arriaga was either in Kern County already or on his way.
The Sheriff’s Office posted surveillance units at residences in Buttonwillow, Lamont and the Kings County town of Hanford before obtaining a search warrant for the Lamont residence.
The arrest took place at 8:45 a.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Singh was one of 12 officers in the Newman Police Department. He died at the age of 33 after immigrating from Fiji. He joined the police force in 2011. He was married with a five-month-old son.
Youngblood appeared emotional at one point in the press conference.
“We’re committed to providing public safety,” he said. “When you use a firearm against a police officer, you can run but you can’t hide.”
He also used the opportunity to criticize the sanctuary city law taken up by many cities and counties in California, reminding the public that he advocated against the county becoming a sanctuary county.
"When you tie our hands and don’t allow us to work with our federal partners and communicate with our federal partners about people who commit crimes and are in this country illegally, we’re going to have incidents like this," he said. "Not just on police officers, but on the public that we serve and protect."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.