Deputy Charged With Faking Ambush

Sukhdeep Gill had reported that bullet hit his body camera, saving him
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2021 1:30 PM CST
Prosecutors: Deputy Staged His Ambush
Sukhdeep Gill was charged Friday in Santa Clara County, California.   (Santa Clara Sheriff's Office via AP)

On a Sunday night in January 2020, California prosecutors say, a sheriff's deputy patrolling a rural road alone hit the emergency broadcast button on his radio and said: "Shots fired! "Shots fired!" Officers from four agencies responded. Santa Clara County officials have now decided there was no ambush, CNN reports. Sukhdeep Gill, 27, was arrested Friday and charged with felony vandalism and falsely reporting a crime. He's been released on his own recognizance and is still on paid administrative leave, as he was during the investigaton, per KTVU. "This case is bewildering and deeply disappointing," the district attorney 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."

A manhunt followed for the person who supposedly had shot Gill from a passing car as the deputy was standing along the road. Gill reported that one shot hit him but that it destroyed his body camera, saving him—which prosecutors called "a miraculous spot." The deputy reported three bullets hit his department vehicle. Prosecutors said the evidence revealed problems with Gill's story, though they didn't specify which parts of it. "We are looking forward to getting our hands on the investigation and the evidence to understand why these charges are being pursued," his lawyer said in a statement. The sheriff issued a statement saying, "If the allegations hold true, Deputy Gill’s actions are not representative of the upstanding men and women of the Sheriff's Office." Gill, who's been with the department since 2016, faces three years in prison if convicted. (A Louisiana officer was accused of staging an ambush last year.)

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