Jul 25, 2017
Simranjit Singh, 21, was killed by four bullet wounds to the chest. According to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, another employee – who is not being named – was cleaning up the parking lot around the station, and allegedly got into an altercation with three intoxicated men who were loitering on the premises.
One of the men allegedly punched the employee, who went inside the station to call 911. Singh, who was in the parking lot, was then approached by the three men, one of whom shot him dead.
Sacramento Sheriff Department spokesman Sgt. Tony Turnbull told India-West that the motive for the murder was the initial argument and then a physical fight between the suspect and the co-worker of the victim. “This was an escalation of an argument, to a physical fight, to a shooting,” he said.
Turnbull said there was no evidence to indicate the incident was a hate crime, or that suspects intended to rob the store.
Singh was shot with a handgun multiple times in the upper torso, according to Turnbull. The shooter had exited a vehicle in order to commit the crime, he told India-West.
The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department arrested Alexander Lopez, 40, the following day after the murder, for his involvement in the shooting of Singh. Lopez has been charged on an open count of murder and is being held at the Sacramento County Jail. He is ineligible for bail.
At his arraignment July 28 in Sacramento County Superior Court, Judge Michael Sweet read out statements from prosecutors who alleged that Lopez fired the shots that killed Singh. Lopez did not enter a plea and is scheduled to return to court Aug. 3.
Still at large are Rodolfo Zavala, 23, and Ramon Zavala, 15, also believed to be involved in Singh’s murder. The Sheriff’s Department reports that both men are reportedly armed and dangerous.
Turnbull told India-West that detectives strongly believe that the juvenile, Ramon Zavala, is the shooter. Lopez is nevertheless being charged with an open count of murder because “based on the facts known to detectives and presented to the district attorney, all three suspects played a role in part of the conspiracy to continue the assault either before, during, or after the shooting resulting in the murder,” he said.
Singh’s co-worker Misbah told that the deceased victim was taking out boxes from the gas station convenience store to the trash area when he was approached by the three men. “Simran didn’t say one word to them,” said Misbah, who started working at the store about a year and a half ago, about the same time Singh started working there. “I don’t know why they killed him,” she said emotionally.
Misbah and Singh worked the day shift together and instantly became friends. “He was like a brother to me,” said Misbah, noting that Singh – a native of Mohali – had just started to work the night shift about a month ago, after enrolling for classes in engineering at nearby American River College.
“He was so nice, so nice to everyone,” said Misbah, fondly recalling her friend.