"he was shot at by the passenger in a silver sedan"
Deputy Sukhdeep Gill, aged 27, of California, was arrested and charged on January 29, 2021, after he allegedly staged a drive-by ambush.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Deputy was charged with felony vandalism and falsely reporting a crime.
On January 31, 2020, Gill had called for help while he was on routine patrol in Santa Clara County.
He claimed he had been struck by gunfire and was injured.
According to a statement from the district attorney’s office, Gill reported that “he was shot from a passing car as he stood on a dark rural road”.
When officers responded, Gill had no serious injuries and at the time he claimed that he was saved when the bullet hit a body camera he was wearing, which was destroyed.
He had alleged that “he had parked on the dirt shoulder to urinate during a routine patrol.
“While walking back towards the driver side of his patrol car he was shot at by the passenger in a silver sedan that had turned off its lights as it approached him.”
The incident led to a manhunt for the alleged shooter.
On the day of the alleged shooting, three additional bullets had struck his police car.
Police initially thought it may have been a hate crime, as Gill wears a traditional turban.
However, he has now been arrested for allegedly fabricating the story after an investigation found evidence that “exposed serious discrepancies in the deputy’s account”.
Gill was charged with felony vandalism and falsely reporting a crime.
The deputy had been placed on leave for several months prior to his arrest as an internal investigation was conducted.
Gill was later released and is set to appear in court on March 1, 2021.
It is unclear whether someone else was also involved or if Gill acted alone.
A statement said:
“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.”
District Attorney Jeff Rosen said:
“This case is bewildering and deeply disappointing.”
“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.”
Gill’s attorney, Nicole Pifari, said:
“For now, all I can say is we are looking forward to getting our hands on the investigation and the evidence to understand why these charges are being pursued.”
Gill has been with the sheriff’s office since 2016.