Robert Solis: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Robert Solis

Harris County Sheriffs Office Robert Solis has been charged with capital murder in the death of Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal.

Robert Solis is the suspect with a violent criminal history who stands accused of ambushing and murdering Sandeep Dhaliwal, the Harris County, Texas Sheriff’s Deputy who was the first member of his department to wear a turban on duty.

Dhaliwal was killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop. Solis is accused of capital murder in the death of Dhaliwal. You can read more about Dhaliwal’s life here. “Solis had an active Parole Violation Warrant for Aggravated Assault w/Deadly Weapon dating back to January 2017,” the sheriff wrote.

Praise flooded in for the slain deputy, who was remembered as a trailblazer. “Deputy Dhaliwal is known to everybody as someone with a giving heart,” the sheriff, Ed Gonzalez, said in a news conference. He was the “first member of the Sikh community to become a Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy. He wore the turban. He represented his community with integrity, respect and pride and… he was respected by all.”

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Authorities Say the Suspect Ran Up to Dhaliwal & Shot Him From Behind

Major Mike Lee of the Houston County Sheriff’s Department said that Deputy Dhaliwal made a “routine traffic stop” on September 27, 2019. “He was shot and has succumbed to his injuries.”

Dhaliwal first called dispatch at 12:23 p.m. At 12:26, the dispatcher checked in with him, and he updated his situation and said he was fine. When Lee arrived at the scene, he looked at the dashcam video. Thus, in a press conference, Lee was able to describe what he saw on it:

“Deputy Dhaliwal had the driver’s door open speaking to the driver….it looked to just be conversational. There was no combat, no arguing. It looked like a routine traffic stop that we conduct every day,” said Lee.

Harris Co Jail Booking sheet

He said that the deputy shut the door and began to walk back to his patrol car. Within 3 to 4 seconds, the driver’s door opened. The suspect exited the car “almost immediately running with the gun already out and ran up from behind and basically ambushed Deputy Dhaliwal and struck him in the back of the head,” alleged Lee.

“I believe it was a suspect, he has a lengthy criminal history, on parole, probably knew he was going to go back to jail and did not want to go back to jail,” Lee added. Court records show Solis was born in Texas in 1972, making him 47-years-old.

2. The Suspect Fled to a Nearby Business But Was Captured There, Authorities Say

sandeep dhaliwal

HCSOSandeep Dhaliwal

A neighbor a few houses over was outside doing yardwork when the shooting occurred. She saw the traffic stop occur but then she heard two gunshots and saw the suspect “running from the scene and get into a getaway car and leave the scene,” Lee said. She called 911 and ran over to check on Deputy Dhaliwal.

A photo of the suspect was taken from the dashcam video and distributed. The suspect was located at a nearby business a quarter mile from the scene. A deputy noticed he looked nervous and put him in custody, Lee said.

The weapon was recovered in the same parking lot of that nearby business. “We also have a female in custody that was believed to be the passenger of the car,” Lee said. The suspect’s name was not released.

Gonzalez also described the shooting as an ambush, saying, “he was on a traffic stop…a male suspect exited the vehicle armed with a pistol and in a cold-blooded manner, ambush-style, shot Deputy Dhaliwal from behind.”

3. The Suspect, Who Has a Criminal History, Was Released Early From Prison

Harris Co court records.

A review of Harris County court records shows that the suspect is a 47-year-old ex-con with an extremely serious past including a conviction for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

He was released in 2014 after serving only 12 years of a 29-year prison sentence, KHOU-TV reported.

He was then accused of drunk driving but a parole board didn’t send him back to prison. In 2017, a warrant was issued after he was again accused of violating parole for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend and weapon possession. He was still wanted on the warrant at the time of Dhaliwal’s death for allegedly carrying a firearm.

Solis has other serious charges on his record, such as aggravated kidnapping from 2002. He was accused of “holding his 4-year-old hostage after shooting another man in southwest Houston,” reported Fox26. A SWAT team eventually convinced Solis to let the child go,

Harris Co court records

His past includes a violent firearm offense. When a woman told Solis a man had allegedly struck her, he tracked the man down and shot him, according to Fox26.

Harris Co

His criminal history in Harris County court records is very long.

In contrast, the character of the slain deputy was roundly praised.

“I’m sad to share with you that we’ve lost one of our own. Our @HCSOTexas was unable to recover from his injuries. There are no words to convey our sadness. Please keep his family and our agency in your prayers,” Gonzalez announced on Twitter.

In the press conference, the Sheriff called Dhaliwal “a hero, a respected member of the community and a trailblazer.”

4. Sandeep Dhaliwal, Who Worked for Harris County Sheriff’s Office for 10 Years, Once Urged People to Be Proud of Wearing ‘Blue’

According to Click 2, Dhaliwal joined the Harris County Sheriff’s Department in 2008, when he started serving as a detention officer before becoming a deputy four years later. In the press conference, Gonzalez confirmed that Dhaliwal had served on the department for 10 years.

When Deputy Darren Goforth was murdered in Harris County, Dhaliwal was “consoling his community with hugs” and told ABC13: “He’s one of the reasons I am in uniform today.”

According to the television station, Dhaliwal visited Goforth’s memorial daily and urged people to support law enforcement officers more visibly.

“Just wear blue. Wear blue and be proud of that,” Dhaliwal said to ABC13 then. “And that shows support to law enforcement. Simple as that.”

5. Dhaliwal Was Approved to Wear the Symbols of His Sikh Faith, Including the Turban

In 2015, Deputy Dhaliwal was allowed to wear his beard and turban (called a dastaar) while on patrol as a deputy because they are required by his Sikh faith, the television station reported. He was the first Texas law enforcement officer allowed to wear a turban on duty.

“Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal beamed with pride when then-Sheriff @AdrianGarciaHTX announced he could wear his Sikh turbin and a beard while on duty,” The Harris County Sheriff’s Department wrote on Twitter. According to Click2Houston, for the first six years on the force, Dhaliwal couldn’t wear his beard and turban but the sheriff worked to change the policy alongside the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

The Sikh Coalition explains, “The founder of the Sikh tradition, Guru Nanak, was born in the region of Punjab, South Asia, in 1469 CE. He lived a life of spirituality, service, and honesty, and the disciples who began to follow his teachings came to be known as Sikhs.”

According to the Sikh Coalition, “Perhaps the most visible aspect of the Sikh identity is the turban, which can be worn by men and women alike. The turban was historically worn by royalty in South Asia, and the Gurus adopted this practice as a way of asserting the sovereignty and equality of all people. For a Sikh, wearing a turban asserts a public commitment to maintaining the values and ethics of the tradition, including service, compassion, and honesty.”

Garcia said he believes the change will inspire other law enforcement agencies to make religious accommodations to employees.

ABC13 reported that Dhaliwal was “an entrepreneur who sold a lucrative business in order to go into law enforcement.”

“This tragic loss is a grave reminder of the risks that our law enforcement officers face every single day. I thank the officers who bravely responded to apprehend the suspect, and I assure you that the state of Texas is committed to bringing this killer to justice,” the Texas governor said of Dhaliwal’s death.

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