Police in Bakersfield on Friday arrested a man suspected of gunning down a Newman, Calif. police officer during a traffic stop on the day after Christmas.
Gustavo Perez Arriaga, 33, was found at a residence in Bakersfield Friday morning, said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson.
He was being transferred to Stanislaus County Jail on Friday afternoon.
Arriaga is a known gang member with two previous arrests for DUI, Christianson said.
He is suspected in the shooting death of Cpl. Ronil Singh, 33, who stopped Arriaga on suspicion that he was driving drunk.
Throughout a 20-minute press conference Friday, Christianson slammed California sanctuary laws that he said allowed Arriaga to stay in the U.S. despite his criminal record.
“While we absolutely need to stay focused on office Singh’s service and sacrifice, we can’t ignore the fact that this could have been preventable,” he said.
Christianson pointed to Senate Bill 54, which prevents law enforcement agencies from sharing information about arrested suspects unless they have been convicted of certain crimes.
“I’m suggesting that the outcome could have different if law enforcement wasn’t restricted or had their hands tied because of political interference,” he said. “My point is, why are we providing sanctuary for criminals, gang members? It’s a conversation we need to have.”
Also arrested were Erik Quiroz, 27, described as Arriaga’s coworker, and Adrian Virgen, 25, Arriaga’s brother. Both lied to police in an attempt to protect him and help him flee to Mexico.
Both are also in the U.S. illegally, Christianson said.
Singh’s younger brother Reggie Singh thanked the police officers that investigated the case and arrested Arriaga.
“He is not coming back,” he said. “But there is a lot of people out there that misses him, and a lot of law enforcement people that I don’t know who worked day and night to make this happen.”