Former Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy convicted of faking drive-by

Mugshot of Santa Clara County Sheriffs Deputy Sukhdeep Gill.

A former Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputy was convicted Tuesday of charges related to false claims he made about getting shot in a drive-by shooting near Morgan Hill.

Sukhdeep Gill, now 30 years old, was not injured and - as it turned out - had not been shot four years ago, contradicting the story he told investigators that a single bullet fired from a passing car precisely struck his body-worn camera.

Gill pleaded guilty to vandalism and the crime of false report of an emergency in exchange for the court’s offer of 150 hours of community service, payment of restitution, and the surrender of Gill’s certification to the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST. This permanently prevents Gill from acting as a peace officer in California. Despite the prosecutor's objection, the judge reduced Gill’s felony vandalism charge to a misdemeanor. 

"I have gone to officers’ funerals after they are shot," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. "I hope to never hear again about an officer faking being shot. It’s outrageous, diverts public resources, and dishonors officers who put their lives on the line to protect us."

The case stems from what happened on Jan. 31, 2020, when Gill radioed: "Shots fired! Shots fired!" 

Officers responded from the sheriff’s office as well as the San Jose, Morgan Hill, and Gilroy police departments. Initially, police began to look at this as a possible hate crime because Gill wears a turban. 

Gill told an officer that he had parked on the dirt shoulder to urinate during a routine patrol. 

While walking back towards the driver's side of his patrol car, he lied and said he was shot at by the passenger in a silver sedan that had turned off its lights as it approached him. 

Gill said he fired two shots towards the non-existent sedan, which fled on Uvas Road.

An investigation found evidence, including ballistics, that exposed serious discrepancies in the deputy’s account, prosecutors said.

At the time of Gill's arrest, Deputy District Attorney Jason Malinsky said the evidence shows he shot at his own body-worn camera and patrol car.

The Sheriff's Office was also disappointed.

"We are very disappointed, however, these actions do not represent myself or all the other men and women who put on this uniform and go out there to truly serve and protect our community with integrity," Sgt. Michael Low said at the time.