A 27-year-old Indian-origin law enforcement officer in the US state of California has been arrested for allegedly faking a shocking drive-by shooting incident last year following which he was hailed as a hero who had a miraculous escape, authorities have announced.
Sukhdeep Gill, who held the post of Deputy at Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, was arrested on Friday as he on January 31, 2020 had reported that he was shot from a passing car as he stood on a dark rural road.
Following the incident when the officers responded, no serious injuries were found on Sukhdeep Gill and it appeared that he had been shot only once on his body camera, which was destroyed, the report said, citing a statement issued by the district attorney's office.
Sukhdeep Gill's report triggered a manhunt for the alleged shooter.
He told officers that "he had parked on the dirt shoulder to urinate during a routine patrol. While walking back towards the driver side of his patrol car he was shot at by the passenger in a silver sedan that had turned off its lights as it approached him."
"However, the 27-year-old deputy's story fell apart during an intensive investigation," the Office of the District Attorney, County of Santa Clara said in a press release.
Sukhdeep Gill has been charged with "staging a shocking ambush in which he said he was shot from a passing car as he stood on a dark rural road near Morgan Hill," the release said.
Now Sukhdeep Gill - who has been with the Sheriffs' Office since 2016 - is charged with felony vandalism and falsely reporting a crime, a misdemeanour. He faces incarceration if convicted, it said.
Sukhdeep Gill was arrested on Friday after a warrant was issued, it said.
"This case is bewildering and deeply disappointing," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. "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."
Sukhdeep Gill was released on his own recognisance and has a court appearance scheduled for March 1, CNN reported.
His attorney, Nicole Pifari, issued a brief statement that said, "For now, all I can say is we are looking forward to getting our hands on the investigation and the evidence to understand why these charges are being pursued."