Thousands of people from all walks of life including police officers, Sikh believers, Indian-Americans and Houston-area residents turned out for the daylong ceremonies on early Wednesday to honour slain police officer Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, who was shot dead on duty during a traffic stop last week.
Sandeep Dhaliwal, 42, was the first Sikh sheriff's deputy in Harris County with a population of over 10,000 Sikhs.
Sandeep Dhaliwal made national headlines when he was allowed to grow a beard and wear a turban on the job.
He was gunned down while conducting a routine mid-day traffic stop in northwest of Houston on Friday.
The fallen deputy's funeral included processions, a traditional Sikh funeral and a law enforcement funeral with a 21-gun salute from fellow officers and a helicopter flyover.
Today we celebrated the life of fallen HCSO Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal. Our HCSO family will never forget him.— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) October 2, 2019
End Of Watch: 9/27/19
Photo gallery: https://t.co/TEYP1vyRjq. #HouNews pic.twitter.com/EExdOGvkmH
As ''Amazing Grace'' was played on the bagpipes, members of HCSO folded the American flag that covered his casket and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez presented it to Sandeep Dhaliwal's widow who clutched it to her heart. Helicopters flew overhead followed by a 21-gun salute.
After final ceremonies from the law enforcement memorial service at Berry Center, the Dhaliwal family and members of HCSO headed to the Winford Funeral Home for a closed cremation.
Following a final prayer by the Dhaliwal family, HCSO officers moved his casket into a hearse to escort it to the funeral home for a cremation.
The rest of the community and mourners were invited to Gurdwara Sikh National Center at 7500 North Sam Houston Parkway West for the langar (communal meal).
The reason so many of Sandeep Dhaliwal’s fellow deputies were able to attend today’s funeral was because our partners at @CFISDPDChief @Pct4Constable Precinct 5 Constable, @TxDPSSoutheast @houstonpolice and @hcfmo stepped up to fill the gap. Thank you, brothers and sisters.— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) October 2, 2019
The procession route was lined with blue and white signs reading "Always in Our Hearts," and "In Loving Memory of Deputy Dhaliwal."
People had posted custom yard signs, billboards and flowers all along the route and in the neighbourhood.
The Sikh National Center had requested a dress code for those attending the ceremonies to be navy blue, just like the Harris County Sheriff's Office uniform.
At the service, Simratpal Singh, a US Army Captain, flanked by other members of the Sikh community in military service, described Sandeep Dhaliwal as "humble, fearless, not dissuaded by negativity."
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking before thousands during the Sikh part of the ceremony, addressed Sandeep Dhaliwal's wife and three children in saying the community "supports you and lifts you up."
"We are grateful for your father''s service, and his sacrifice and his legacy," Mr Cruz said.
Sandeep Dhaliwal, the father of three joined the force 10 years back and was the state's first law enforcement officer to receive permission to wear a religious turban and beard while on duty.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, the nation's first Sikh state's attorney general, said Sandeep Dhaliwal "inspired an entire generation of Sikhs to join public service.
The services on Wednesday followed a candlelight vigil by the sheriff's office for Sandeep Dhaliwal on Monday and a 48-hour-long prayer-vigil at the Gurdwara Sikh National Center."
Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal.— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) October 2, 2019
End Of Watch: 9/27/19. https://t.co/KDtriSe13S
The public was invited to attend the viewing and funeral services.
Services were held at the Berry Center, which can accommodate up to 8,000 people, and space was set aside for overflow crowds.
The services were carried live on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Sandeep Dhaliwal was killed in the town of Cypress after pulling over a vehicle for running a stop sign.