Authorities arrested an illegal immigrant on Friday in Bakersfield for the murder of a California police officer. Investigators also arrested seven people who assisted the suspect in his failed attempt to flee to Mexico.
On Wednesday, Newman Police Officer Ronil Singh, 33, was conducting a traffic stop reportedly as part of a DUI investigation. Moments later, a gun battle ensued, during which Singh was fatally wounded. Officers then began a search for the suspected killer, Gustavo Perez Arriaga, 33.
On Thursday, officers arrested one of Arriaga’s brother, Adrian Virgen, 25, and Arriaga’s coworker, Erik Razo Quiroz, 32, for accessory after the fact to a felony. Virgen and Quiroz were allegedly helping Arriaga, who was trying to flee to Mexico.
After a two-day manhunt, officers arrested Arriaga at a home in Bakersfield. At the same residence, officers arrested Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda, 59; Erasmo Villegas, 36; and Maria Luisa Moreno, 57, for aiding and abetting the suspect.
Investigators also arrested Gustavo Arriaga’s girlfriend Ana Leyde Cervantes, 30, and another of his brothers, Conrado Virgin Mendoza, 34, for allegedly helping Arriaga evade police.
Arriaga came to the United States illegally crossing the border in Arizona. He has had two prior arrests for DUI, said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, whose agency is leading the investigation.
During a news conference on Friday, Christianson spoke out strongly against California’s sanctuary laws.
“We can’t ignore the fact that this could’ve been preventable,” Christianson said, noting that California Senate Bill 54 prohibited his department from sharing any information with ICE about a criminal gang member.
“This is a criminal illegal alien with prior criminal activity that should have been reported to ICE,” Christianson added. “Law enforcement was prohibited because of sanctuary laws and that led to the encounter with Officer Singh. I’m suggesting that the outcome could have been different if law enforcement wasn’t restricted, prohibited or had their hands tied because of political interference.”