Slain deputy carried the torch for the entire community

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Office has died after he was shot Friday during a traffic stop in northwest Harris County.

Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal died at 4:01 p.m. at Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center.

"He was a hero, a respected member of the community, and he was a trailblazer," Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a Friday afternoon press conference.

Dhaliwal made headlines in 2015 for being the first sworn law enforcement officer with the Harris County Sheriff's Office to wear a turban.

"It will give me a chance to open up the conversation," he told Eyewitness News at the time.

WATCH: Sheriff announces death of Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal
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Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says a deputy shot during a traffic stop has died.



Former sheriff and now County Commissioner Adrian Garcia called Dhaliwal a pioneer at the time.

The deputy belonged to the Sikh faith, the fifth largest religion in the world, whose members commit to equality, service and justice.

Later that year, we caught Dhaliwal consoling his community with hugs. They were mourning the loss of Deputy Darren Goforth, who was brutally murdered in northwest Harris County.

"He's one of the reasons I am in uniform today," Dhaliwal said.

After Goforth's shooting, he visited his memorial daily. He told us then more people need to support our officers and do so in a visible way.

"Just wear blue. Wear blue and be proud of that," Dhaliwal said. "And that shows support to law enforcement. Simple as that."

Before he donned his shield and uniform, Dhaliwal was an entrepreneur who sold a lucrative business in order to go into law enforcement.

The deputy was remembered Friday for his service to others, especially in their greatest time of need.

Sheriff Gonzalez said in the days after Hurricane Harvey, Dhaliwal organized help from enough people in California, he needed an 18-wheeler to bring the volunteers and supplies to Houston.

When Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, killing 3,057 people, the deputy and Garcia traveled to the U.S territory to help get people back on their feet.

Sheriff Gonzalez said Dhaliwal leaves behind a wife and three children.
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