Santa Clara Co. sheriff's deputy arrested for faking ambush shooting

A Santa Clara County deputy was arrested Friday and faces criminal charges that he faked a shooting ambush.

It's a case both prosecutors and the sheriff's department call 'disappointing.'

Deputy Sukhdeep Gill was arrested Friday afternoon in San Jose after the 27-year-old turned himself in at the lobby of the sheriff's office where he works.

The arrest comes after the deputy claimed he was shot at in unincorporated Morgan Hill near the Uvas Reservoir on the night of January 31, 2020.

Prosecutors say he was lying when he made a radio call for help when he was heard saying, "Shots fired! Shots fired!"

"After our year-long investigation, extensive investigation, our detectives did determine that the incident was fabricated and that the facts were not adding up," said Santa Clara Co. Sheriff's Sgt. Michael Low.

The deputy told authorities he was shot at from someone in a passing car.

The sheriff's office said three gunshots hit Gill's patrol vehicle and a fourth hit his body-worn camera right in the middle of his chest.

Prosecutor Jason Malinsky works in the Public Law Enforcement Integrity Unit of the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office which was created last year.

"We believe that Deputy Gill fabricated the entire incident," said Malinsky. "The evidence just really doesn't line up with his story and that evidence includes ballistics evidence amongst a lot of other evidence we've gathered."

Malinsky says the evidence shows Deputy Gill shot at his own body-worn camera and patrol car.

He now faces a charge of felony vandalism and filing a false police report.

Gill remains on paid administrative leave and faces up to three years in prison.

"Not only did he breach that trust and make up a brazen attack, he caused a drain of substantial amount of community public resources here that are meant to protect the public," said Malinsky.

The five-year veteran of the department Friday was booked at the Main Jail, the same place where he used to work at as a corrections officer.

"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," said Sgt. Low.

Any motivation remains unclear but prosecutors say more is expected to be revealed when the case is presented in court.

"We are looking forward to getting a look at the investigation and the related evidence to understand why these charges are being pursued," said Nicole Pifari, Gill's attorney.

Pifari says Deputy Gill is out of custody.

He is set to be arraigned on March 1.