Santa Clara Co. deputy accused of faking being shot, ambush on himself: 'Story just didn't add up,' deputy DA says

Sukhdeep Singh Gill was booked on one felony count of vandalism and one misdemeanor count of making a false report to police.
SAN JOSE Calif. (KGO) -- A Santa Clara County Deputy, who claimed he was shot during an ambush last year, has been arrested after prosecutors accused him of fabricating the story.

Sukhdeep Singh Gill was booked on one felony count of vandalism and one misdemeanor count of making a false report to police on Friday.

"When you take a close look at the evidence, the story just didn't add up," said Jason Malinsky, the Deputy District Attorney prosecuting the case.

RELATED: Body camera, body armor saved Santa Clara County deputy from bullet, says sheriff

Gill had been on patrol the night of January 31, 2020 when he called in a report of shots fired near the Uvas Reservoir outside Morgan Hill.

Malinsky said Gill initially told investigators that he had been parked on the side of the road to urinate. When he was about to get back into his car, another car drove past him and someone inside opened fire striking his patrol vehicle several times. One bullet also struck Gill's body-worn camera. At the time, Sheriff Laurie Smith credited the camera for saving his life.

"He was very lucky, he was very brave," said Smith the day after the incident.

The purported shooting sparked a large, multi-agency manhunt for the assailant.

"They couldn't find anybody, but he was a law enforcement officer so they gave him the benefit of the doubt and they aggressively and intensively investigated this case trying to find who had shot at an officer," said Malinsky.

But after an intense investigation, the 27-year-old deputy's story "fell apart" according to prosecutors.

"This case is bewildering and deeply disappointing," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. "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."

Malinsky would not cite specific evidence, but said they had ballistics that exposed discrepancies in Gill's initial account.

"I understand the public has a hunger for more information. This information will be made public in open court," said Malinsky.

Gill had been a deputy since 2016. In a statement, Sheriff Smith said he had been placed on administrative leave after she had learned about the criminal investigation.

"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," wrote Smith.

Ryan Elder, the Vice President of the Deputy Sheriff's Association of Santa Clara County told ABC7, "Deputy Gill is entitled to due process and the opportunity to present an affirmative defense to these allegations."

However, he added the allegations themselves can be damaging to the department as a whole.

"The DSA recognizes that these allegations can have a tremendous impact on community trust. These allegations not only reflect negatively on the hard-working men and women of the DSA, but to all law enforcement professionals."

Gill faces up to four years in prison if convicted on both counts.

ABC7 was unable to reach Gill for a comment.
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