NEWMAN - A Los Angeles police officer pushed through final stages of a grueling 300-mile bicycle ride in agony Friday to deliver an American flag to the family of Cpl. Ronil Singh.
With dozens of community members and a number of Newman police officers looking on, Andrew Gonzalez made his way through the crowd to present the flag to Anamika Singh, the widow of the fallen officer, in a tearful exchange at the memorial honoring her fallen husband.
Gonzalez’s three-day ride had started early Wednesday morning when he and a team from non-profit organization Blue Coat Music’s Project Endure, which honors fallen law enforcement officers. He and other cyclists who joined portions of the marathon ride were escorted by officers along the way before Newman PD units took the final stage to bring Gonzalez and accompanying riders to his final goal.
Team members exchanged hugs before Gonzalez made his way to the waiting family to present the flag.
He was unable to address those gathered, but had previously told a Fresno television station that his mission was to honor the memory of Cpl. Singh, who was murdered Christmas night during a traffic stop of a suspected drunken driver.
“That was the inspiration,” he told the station. “To ride in his honor so his memory doesn’t die.”
A Los Angeles police officer who goes by the name Chris Jay is the founder of Blue Coat Music.
While Blue Coat Music provided the logistical planning and support team, Jay told those gathered, the ride was Gonzalez’s mission.
“He told me he wanted to ride up here and give a flag to the family, and asked if we would help him out,” Jay explained. “This was his idea, his motivation, his vision.”
Gonzalez was particularly touched by the tragic death of Cpl. Singh, he added.
When Gonzalez’s training regimen pushed him to his limits, Jay added, “he would think about Cpl. Singh and the family, and how (Gonzalez’s) pain was temporary but he was going to go home to his wife and Cpl. Singh won’t get to do that. That is what got him through his training. That is the kind of person he is.”
Anamika Singh said the family continues to receive overwhelming love and support from the community, and expressed her gratitude to Gonzalez and the Project Endure team.
“Thank you so very much for doing this,” she said. “It does mean a lot to us.”
Police Chief Randy Richardson said the ride also meant a great deal to the department, which is continuing the difficult process of moving forward after the devastating loss of one of its own.
“That shows the heart and dedication that somebody has to show love for one of our officers. He had probably never heard of Newman until this tragic event,” Richardson told Mattos Newspapers.
Such gestures, he added, are always emotional and difficult but also important and appreciated by the department and community alike.”
That somebody would ride 300 miles on a bicycle to honor the officer is nothing short of amazing, he remarked.
“It means the world to our department,” Richardson said.