Prayers, tributes held for fallen Harris County Deputy Dhaliwal

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Prayers and tributes for fallen Harris County Sheriff's Office Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal were held Wednesday evening at the Gurdwara Sikh National Center after his funeral service and cremation.

Though the traditional Sikh Kirtan service for Dhaliwal, who was 42 when he was shot in the back of the head during a traffic stop last week, is completed, a Sikh funeral is not complete until the Akhand Path is finished and the closing prayer hymns are sung. The Akhand Path is a complete reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh religious text, that takes about 48 hours to complete.

A Langar (communal meal) was also hosted at the temple.

Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and members of law enforcement from all over the world attended the funeral service and Langar afterward.

At the Gurdwara Sikh National Center, a sea of blue was seen for a man who proudly wore the uniform as well as his turban.

"He has touched my heart. As you can see, a lot of people's hearts," attendee Pritpal Singh Sikand said. "And it's not because he's a Sikh, (it's) that he sacrificed his life. It's what he did for everybody in the community that needed help or support."

Dhaliwal lived a life of service, embodying the three principles of Sikhism.

"The three Sikh principles are meditate on the name, and second one is honest living, honest service and then sharing. He did all of that," said Balwinder Singh Dhillon, of the Sikh Center of San Antonio. "Sharing and selfless service. He gave us an example of how not to only say, how to do it in his life."

For 48 hours, volunteers and priests read holy scripture aloud as the earthly chapter of Dhaliwal's life came to a close. Following the reading came the final prayer, which signified the end to the Sikh ceremony.

"His humbleness came out in his character. I think all of us realized he was such a humble person, yet he had such a big impact just by being humble," funeral attendee Bublie Sikand said.

"We all have said prayers at home and multiple Gurdwaras for him. We just hope that we can all heal from it," attendee Robini Malhotra said.

Although he's no longer physically here, many say Dhaliwal's spirit is very much alive.

"I think every kid wants to be like him just because of how he was personally, like, if you talked to him personally, he was amazing," attendee Simren Grewal said.