FOX NEWS: Sheriff Adam Christianson says officer Singh was a poster child for how immigration should work, says his suspected killer is armed and dangerous and urges the public to call 911 if they have information that could lead to his arrest.
LISA BOOTHE, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: All right. Well, joining me now exclusively is Stanislaus County sheriff, Adam Christianson.
ADAM CHRISTIANSON, STANISLAUS COUNTY SHERIFF: Hello, Lisa. And thank you for having me on the show.
BOOTHE: Sheriff, our hearts break for you tonight and the community. I don't know how anyone can watch that without breaking down themselves and with tears. I just -- my heart goes out to you and what you’re feeling.
I know Randy Richardson said it was a close-knit community at the Newman Police Department, 12 people. You can obviously see the love and admiration that he had for Officer Singh.
So, I want to start out with his legacy, honoring him and what he meant to you and the Newman Police Department. Can you tell me about Corporal Singh?
CHRISTIANSON: Well, I can tell you that the sheriff's office is the lead investigative agency, and we're fully supporting the Newman Police Department. So, even though I’m the sheriff, Chief Richardson is really trying to keep his team together and we're there to support him.
Officer Singh is the shining example of what immigration in America should be. This is a young man who immigrated here legally. It was his dream to come to America. It was his dream to become a police officer. He worked hard to achieve that goal.
And unfortunately, he sacrificed his life trying to defend and protect his community. Newman is very small. It's almost like Mayberry. These critical incidents don't occur and for this law enforcement agency, in the history of its existence, this is their first line of duty death.
BOOTHE: And, Sir, he leaves behind a wife and 5-month-old child. Can you tell us a little bit about his family?
CHRISTIANSON: He's got a wonderful family. I think what Chief Richardson shared with everyone, your viewers and the nation and even here locally, speaks to the character of Officer Singh and how much he loved his family. I think the photograph speaks volumes to his devotion not only to his family but his community.
BOOTHE: And, sir, just tell us more about his dedication on the job. I read that he drove 2 1/2 hours to attend the police academy which he put himself through. He took lessons to learn how to speak English better so he could move up the ladder.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the dedication?
CHRISTIANSON: He did. It's an amazing story. He didn't start with the Newman Police Department. He was a cadet with the Turlock Police Department.
He worked very hard. He was a reserve with the Merced County sheriff's office. He pursued his dream and to get through the academy, he was willing to make that commute every day, to complete that training program, making him eligible to be a peace officer in the state of California. And yes, he knew that he was difficult to understand because of his accent. And again, he threw everything into language classes, English is not his first language.
And even I remember what he sounded like on the radio, and we all kind of -- all chuckled about that accent and how hard he worked to ensure that his language got better, his English skills got better, because again, he wanted so badly to be a police officer, and he worked diligently to achieve his goal.
BOOTHE: And where does this manhunt stand now?
CHRISTIANSON: So we have identified a suspect, although we're not naming that suspect, primarily because we have a very specific protocol that we use to make positive identifications, and as you know, people use multiple aliases. Oftentimes, people share similar or same names, and we're not going to make a mistake.
So we're not ready to actually name the suspect, but we have multiple teams utilizing our federal law enforcement partners, state and local partners. We have multiple teams out chasing down multiple investigative leads. We have a hotline set up and we are working nonstop. We're not sparing any expense, to hunt this suspect down and bring him to justice.
BOOTHE: Are Californians in danger right now?
CHRISTIANSON: No, they’re not. Yes, this suspect is armed and dangerous, but we believe he's on the run. We have no evidence whatsoever to believe he's still a credible threat, although I suspect when law enforcement moves in he might be.
But we encourage the public, there is plenty of information out there, if you see him or you think you see this suspect, do not approach him. Don't engage him. Don't try to stop him. Call 911 and let us come intercept him, because we want to get him into custody safely without anybody else being injured or killed as a result of this investigation or this incident.
BOOTHE: And do we know if the suspect has a criminal background?
CHRISTIANSON: Not yet because again, we're working on that positive identification, and so without completing that protocol, we don't want to misidentify anybody. So we're going to make absolutely sure that we have an identification. And really, the best way to do that is fingerprints and we won't have that until we get him in custody.
BOOTHE: Sir, I want to ask you about something you brought up at the press conference earlier. You made a distinction between the fact that Corporal Singh came here legally. He came here for the sole purpose, he wanted to be a police officer, he wanted to serve this country, he wanted to serve his community.
And you drew a distinction between the suspected killer who came here, broke the law and came here illegally.
Why was it important for to you draw that distinction?
CHRISTIANSON: Because I want the nation to know, I want your viewers to know, that Officer Singh really should be the focus of this investigation and his sacrifice. But I also want everybody to know that immigration is good for America, if done legally. Illegal immigration doesn't serve our communities, especially criminals who victimize and exploit our communities.
Whether you hate the president or love the president, border security goes hand-in-hand with national security, the safety of our communities, and public safety. We need to know who is in our communities that shouldn't be. We should be focusing on criminal activity without political interference.
And there is only one with entity that can fix immigration, even though there are laws on the books and we should stand by the rule of law and we should be enforcing those laws, Congress is the only entity that can fix this problem, and until they decide to depolarize themselves and focus on what's in the best interest of the people, you can't establish a system of immigration that lacks bureaucracy, hopefully, and allows people a path to become good citizens and contribute to what makes America great.
Officer Singh, he is the absolute poster child for why immigration works if done legally, and properly.
BOOTHE: So, should more be done at the southern border to prevent this illegal activity?
CHRISTIANSON: Well, I think there is, at least from what I know -- I think that there is a lot of great work going on, on our southern border. I think it's inexcusable that we continue to attack the men and women who are there, either as members of U.S. Customs, the Border Patrol, ICE, or other federal law enforcement partners.
Stop demonizing and villainizing the men and women who are there trying to protect our communities. It's time to come together and fix the problem and, yes, border security needs to be a priority. And it's not just the immigration issue, Lisa. We have cartels that are trafficking narcotics, weapons, little girls.
We have a problem with human trafficking. We need to secure our borders and we need to give the men and women who protect us, our federal law enforcement partners, the ability to do their job without political interference.
BOOTHE: Well, sir, California has come under fire for being a sanctuary state. Has that hamstrung your ability to do your job in any way?
CHRISTIANSON: Oh, certainly, it has. First of all, and as I told the president of the United States when I sat next to him, I don't think we should be subjected to political interference.
I understand why the state legislature and politicians have decided to create these laws because they believe that people need to be protected. Law enforcement is here to protect people. But you can't provide sanctuary for criminals. That -- all that does is silence the voices of our victims, and I certainly didn't sign up to do that.
Remember that our partners with ICE, great, great law enforcement partners, they are not in my county sweeping through churches and schools and convenience stores. They are only interested in the fugitives and the criminals. Why are we providing sanctuary for people who victimize and exploit the weak and the defenseless? We should not be doing that.
BOOTHE: And, sir, before I let you go, is there any place where viewers and people at home can help the Singh family?
CHRISTIANSON: Absolutely. If you go to our Facebook page, just search for the Stanislaus County Sheriffs office. There’s an official donation site. Remember that there’s also a lot of fraudulent creation of GoFundMe sites. So, be very careful of those.
If it’s not our official site, which was set up by the Stanislaus Sworn Deputies Association, and that is on our Facebook page, that is the only official site where people can absolutely donate and help this family. Understanding that we're going to help this family. There are benefits available to them.
And my office, sheriff's office and the men and women of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office, along with all of other local partners, you can absolutely be sure that we’re going to support Officer Singh and his family. Officer Singh will never be forgotten for his service and sacrifice.
BOOTHE: And we honor his legacy tonight. Sir, thank you so much for joining. Our prayers are with his family and your community.
CHRISTIANSON: Thank you, Lisa.
BOOTHE: Thank you, sir.