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Fugitive in 2008 killing at Sacramento Sikh sports tournament arrested in India

12/03/2013 12:00 AM

12/03/2013 12:15 AM

A man who has been on the lam for five years after allegedly gunning down a 26-year-old man at a Sikh sports festival in Sacramento County has been arrested in India, according to authorities.

Amandeep Singh Dhami was taken into custody Friday evening in Jalandhar, Punjab, on suspicion of local charges, according to the FBI. At an undetermined time, he will be extradited to the United States to face a murder charge in the Aug. 31, 2008 shooting death of Parmjit Pamma Singh.

Dhami also faces an attempted murder charge in the shooting of Shaib Jeet Singh, another man injured in the spray of gunfire.

Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies allege Dhami fatally shot Parmjit Singh, 26, during a Sikh sports tournament at a sports complex on Bradshaw Road. Detectives obtained a warrant for Dhami’s arrest days after the shooting, but he fled to Canada and then India. He has been on the run so long that the court file containing the warrant paperwork has been filed away in storage.

A friend of Dhami, Gurpreet Singh Gosal, was convicted this summer of second-degree murder in connection with Parmjit Singh’s death. Prosecutors had argued that even though he did not strike anybody when he fired his gun in the air after Dhami and Parmjit Singh got into a fight, Gosal had aided and abetted Dhami. He was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison.

According to testimony at Gosal’s trial, Dhami and Singh had been in an ongoing dispute that started with an argument at a San Jose nightclub about a week before the shooting. The night before the festival, Gosal flew into Sacramento from his home in Indianapolis and bought 250 rounds of ammunition at an Elk Grove gun shop, according to the testimony. That ammunition was found in a backpack stowed in the car authorities alleged that Dhami and Gosal rode in to the sports tournament.

After Parmjit Singh was shot, festival spectators pummeled Gosal with hockey sticks and cricket bats to detain him until sheriff’s deputies arrived and arrested him. Dhami, too, was briefly detained by the witnesses but escaped.

His federal fugitive poster has appeared on the Sacramento FBI’s website since 2008. Recently, it was translated into Punjabi and redistributed internationally, according to an FBI news release. Over the years, some sources speculated that Dhami might have returned to Canada, but the FBI recently found he was living in India under an assumed name.

Dhami’s family was “very wealthy” and once prominent in the Sacramento region’s Sikh community, prosecutors said during Gosal’s trial.

Not long after the 2008 shooting, deputies arrested four members of that family on suspicion of aiding and abetting him in his escape, but prosecutors later dropped the charges. One of them – Dhami’s father, Balbir Dhami – was fatally shot in his North Laguna Creek home in May 2011. His killing remains unsolved.

Sacramento police declined at the time to discuss whether his son’s alleged crime or his own conspiracy conviction in a drug-trafficking case was believed to play a role in his killing.

Sacto 911 Staff

Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com
@Lindelofnews

Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Andy Furillo
Superior Court
afurillo@sacbee.com
@andyfurillo

Denny Walsh
Federal Court
dwalsh@sacbee.com

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