A Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy was charged Friday with staging an ambush shooting last year, the district attorney's office announced.
Deputy Sukhdeep Gill, 27, said he was standing on a dark rural road in the Morgan Hill area on Jan. 31, 2020, when he was shot at — a bullet hitting his body-worn camera — by someone in a passing car, according to the district attorney's office. A manhunt for the shooter followed.
But during the investigation, Gill's story "fell apart," the district attorney's office said.
"This case is bewildering and deeply disappointing," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. "Deputy Gill’s actions abused the trust of his fellow officers and diverted public safety resources away from protecting the community to investigate a made-up crime."
After Gill reported that shots had been fired, officers from the sheriff's office and other nearby police departments rushed to the scene, according to the district attorney's office. Gill reportedly told the first arriving officer that he parked on the dirt shoulder of Uvas Road and went to urinate. He said as he walked back to his patrol car, a passenger opened fire from a sedan that had its lights turned off as it approached him. Gill said he fired two shots at the sedan.
"An investigation found evidence, including ballistics, that exposed serious discrepancies in the deputy’s account," the district attorney's office wrote.
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Gill was arrested Friday and charged with felony vandalism and falsely reporting a crime, which is a misdemeanor. He could face incarceration if he's convicted, the district attorney's office said.
Gill had been placed on administrative leave, according to the sheriff's office.
"After conducting an extensive investigation and looking into all of the evidence according to County protocols, Sheriff’s Detectives believed that the evidence suggested that the shooting did not occur as reported and was fabricated," the sheriff's office said in a statement.
Gill was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail without incident, the sheriff's office said.
"If the allegations hold true, Deputy Gill’s actions are not representative of the upstanding men and women of the Sheriff’s Office, who risk their lives every day to serve and protect our community with honesty and integrity," the sheriff's office said in a statement.