Judge: Robert Solis, suspect in Deputy Dhaliwal's slaying, will likely face death penalty

By Cathy Hernandez - Reporter, Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

HOUSTON - The man accused of gunning down a Harris County sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop Friday, will likely face the death penalty, a judge said Monday. 

Robert Solis, 47, appeared in court for the first time Monday on charges of capital murder in connection with the shooting death of Harris County Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal Friday. 

"It's a likely outcome that death be the sentence here," the judge said during the Monday morning hearing. 

Prosecutors said Dhaliwal stopped a car with Solis and a woman inside on Willancy Court near West Road. 

The woman, who was a passenger with Solis said he was just giving her a ride and Dhaliwal allowed another man to pick her up, according to prosecutors. She said Solis admitted to her that he had warrants out for his arrest. 

The woman told investigators Dhaliwal was courteous and professional as he tried to identify Solis before she left.

Prosecutors said as Dhaliwal walked back to his patrol car, Solis got out of the car, ran toward the deputy with a gun and shot him in the back of the head.

Solis then sped away in the car that was later found in a Kroger parking lot, they said.

He allegedly called both the woman who had been riding with him and the man who picked her up and confessed he shot an officer and asked them to pick him up. Officers arrested Solis walking out of a Marble Slab nearby.

Before his arrest, prosecutors said surveillance video captured Solis taking something out of his waistband and putting it at the bottom of a dumpster. It's where they later found a gun the same kind used in the shooting, prosecutors said.

Solis was out on parole after being convicted of aggravated kidnapping in 2002. He was wanted for a parole violation accused of threatening his girlfriend and having a prohibited gun in 2017.

"Of course, he's subdued and followed my instructions by not saying anything," said Defense Attorney Allen Isbell. "I have no reason he doesn't understand the seriousness of the charge."

Solis is being held without bond.

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Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal is seen in this undated photo.

Dhaliwal was a father of three, a husband and a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Office. He was the first Sikh to join the Harris County Sheriffs Office and be allowed to wear his turban, beard and other articles of faith on duty. 

"Right now, this community is in mourning, law enforcement, family, a wife lost her husband, right now is not the time to talk about the defendant, but rather it's a time to talk about Deputy Dhaliwal and the amazing legacy that he left on this community," said Prosecutor Katie Warren.

Dhaliwal's funeral will be held Wednesday morning.

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