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California deputy arrested, accused of staging 'shocking ambush'

Santa Clara County deputy Sukhdeep Gill said he had parked on the side of a dirt road and was shot as he walked back to his car.

A California sheriff's deputy was arrested and charged after the district attorney's office said he staged a "shocking ambush."

Deputy Sukhdeep Gill, with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, was taken into custody on Friday and charged with felony vandalism and misdemeanor falsely reporting a crime.

The incident happened last January when just after 10:30 p.m. Gill used the emergency broadcast button on his police radio to report that shots had been fired, according to a release by the district attorney.

Officers from multiple sheriff's departments responded and a manhunt began for the alleged shooter.

Gill told an officer at the scene that he had parked on the shoulder of a dirt road in Morgan Hill to urinate and as he was walking back to his car, he was shot by a person in a vehicle that had turned its lights off.

Gill said he fired two shots at the vehicle but the car drove away.

The district attorney's office said that Gill had no serious injuries.

"It appeared he had been shot only once, and in a miraculous spot — his body-worn camera, which was destroyed," the release stated.

During the investigation into the alleged shooting, Gill's "story fell apart," the agency said. Other evidence, including ballistics, also "exposed serious discrepancies in the deputy's account."

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

Gill, 27, could not be reached for comment on Saturday. His attorney, Nicole Pifari, said, "I can tell you we look forward to getting a look at the investigation and the related evidence to understand why these charges are being pursued."

The deputy has been with the sheriff's office since 2016. He was placed on administrative leave pending the criminal and administrative investigations.

The Santa Clara County Sherrif's Office said in a press release that if the allegations against Gill are true, his 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."