Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal
Deputy Sandeep DhaliwalTwitter

Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal of the Houston area police department died from multiple gunshot wounds after he was attacked from behind on Friday, authorities said.

Known to be the first Sikh man to join the local police department, Indian-American Sandeep Dhaliwal was conducting a traffic stop when he was shot, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said at a press conference.

A 10-year veteran, Dhaliwal was returning to his patrol vehicle after conducting a traffic stop when a male suspect armed with a pistol shot him at least twice and fatally shot him in the back of his head in a "ruthless, cold-blooded way".

The shooter, identified as Robert Solis, 47, was seen running to a shopping centre nearby, officials said.

Sandeep Dhaliwal
Deputy Sandeep DhaliwalTwitter

A woman who was near the traffic stop heard two gunshots and saw the man run. She called 911 and the police arrived at the scene of the crime.

Footage from the police officer's dashcam video helped investigators to speed up the process of identifying the suspect.

"They immediately looked at his dashcam to see what the suspect looked like, they took a photo of the suspect on the scene with their phone and immediately got that out to our intel people," Ed Gonzalez said.

Describing Dhaliwal who was in his 40s, the Sheriff said, "He wore the turban, he represented his community with integrity, respect and pride and he was respected by all."

Solis who was on parole violation warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon from 2017, was charged with capital murder according to the Harris County Sheriff office.