By Associated Press - Friday, January 29, 2021

MORGAN HILL, Calif. (AP) - A San Francisco Bay Area deputy who said a gunman ambushed him last year and his body camera stopped the bullet was arrested Friday on suspicion of felony vandalism and filing a false police report.

Santa Clara County sheriff’s Deputy Sukhdeep Gill lied when he told officials that a car pulled up while he was on patrol in Morgan Hill the night of Jan. 31, 2020, and someone inside opened fire, striking his body camera, Sgt. Michael Low, a sheriff’s department spokesman, said in a statement.

“After conducting an extensive investigation and looking into all of the evidence according to county protocols, sheriff’s detectives believed that the evidence suggested that the shooting did not occur as reported and was fabricated,” Low said.

Prosecutors filed charges Friday, and Gill was arrested and booked into jail, Low said.

Low didn’t say what motivated Gill to fabricate the attack or how he staged it. Gill had been treated at a hospital.

Gill’s attorney, Nicole Pifari, said in a statement that she and her client “look forward to getting our hands on the investigation and the evidence to understand why these charges are being pursued,” the Mercury News in San Jose reported.

Gill, who has been with the sheriff’s department since 2015, is a practicing Sikh who wears a traditional turban. The sheriff’s office said that after he reported the attack, investigators were looking at whether the shooting was a hate crime or a crime of opportunity against law enforcement.

“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,” Low said.

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