California deputy charged with faking ambush attack while on dutyJanuary 31, 2021
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A sheriff’s deputy in Northern California was arrested and charged Friday for allegedly faking an ambush attack a year ago while on duty, authorities said.
Santa Clara County Deputy Sukhdeep Gill, 27, claimed in a panicked radio call that he had been shot while on patrol on Jan. 31, 2020, shouting “Shots fired! Shots fired!” over an emergency channel, FOX 2 in the Bay Area reported.
He told officers he had been ambushed by a passing car when he stopped his vehicle on the side of the road and the bullet struck his body camera. His police vehicle had also been shot by three bullets and he claimed he had fired back at the car as it sped away., the Los Angeles Times reported.
He was on a routine patrol along a rural mountain road in the foothills of unincorporated Morgan Hill, Calif., at the time.
Gill was placed on leave following the incident as a year-long investigation unfolded.
Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy Sukhdeep Gill has been charged with filing a false police report and felony vandalism.
(Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office)
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen didn’t specify what parts of Gill’s story were fake but said ballistics and other evidence revealed inconsistencies. Investigators also noted Gill wasn’t wounded in the shooting while the single bullet pierced his body camera.
Rosen called the deputy’s alleged lie “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,” he added of the manhunt that followed for Gill’s allegedly nonexistent shooter.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith in a statement 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.”
Since Gill is a Sikh and wears a turban, investigators had at first considered he may have been targeted because of his religion.
“These allegations not only reflect negatively on the hard-working men and women of the DSA, but to all law enforcement professionals,” the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Santa Clara County said in a statement, according to FOX 2. “It is important to recognize that these allegations are not reflective of the vast majority of law enforcement officers and deputies.”
Gill’s attorney, Nicole Pifary, said they are “looking forward to getting a look at the investigation and the related evidence to understand why these charges are being pursued,” the station reported.
He remains on paid administrative leave, FOX 2 reported.
Gill has been charged with filing a false police report and felony vandalism, according to the Times.
He has been with the department since 2016.
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