First Responders

Santa Clara Sheriff’s Deputy Charged With Felony for Faking an Ambush

February 3, 2021Joshua Skovlund
Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputy Sukhdeep Gill

Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sukhdeep Gill, 27, was arrested Saturday and charged with felony vandalism and a misdemeanor, falsely reporting a crime, after he faked an ambush on Jan. 31, 2020, according to a Santa Clara County Office of the District Attorney press release

“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,” reads a press release from Sheriff Laurie Smith’s office.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputy faked ambush
The scene of the alleged drive-by shooting ambush. Photo courtesy of the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office.

On Jan. 31, 2020, Gill radioed in a “shots fired” call at approximately 10:32 p.m. When the first officer arrived as backup, Gill told him he had pulled over and parked in order to urinate on the rural roadside during a routine patrol. 

Gill alleged that as he was walking to his patrol car, a silver sedan approached him with its headlights off and opened fire on him. He said that he returned fire with two gunshots and that the vehicle sped away, according to the Santa Clara County district attorney’s press release. 

deputy faked ambush
Deputy Sukhdeep Gill’s squad car and body camera both show bullet damage after an allegedly faked ambush. Photos courtesy of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies and officers from the sheriff’s office and the San Jose, Morgan Hill, and Gilroy police departments responded to Gill’s report of shots fired. 

Gill was placed on administrative leave while the criminal and administrative investigations were ongoing. A comprehensive investigation revealed evidence, including ballistics, that “exposed serious discrepancies in the deputy’s account.” 

Gill had been with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office since 2016. The sheriff’s office declined to give any further information at this time. 

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion.

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