Sheriff’s Office IDs Elderly Saratoga Man Shot by Deputy

Authorities have released the names of a Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy and the elderly man he shot to death in his Saratoga home earlier this week.

Sgt. Doug Ulrich, a 14-year Sheriff’s Office veteran, killed 86-year-old Eugene Craig while conducting a welfare check at the man’s house on Titus Avenue, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. James Jensen.

Deputies arrived at Craig’s place just before 8pm Monday to see if he was OK. One of Craig’s relatives had called 9-1-1 to report that no one had heard from the sickly octogenarian for several weeks.

Officers say they knocked on Craig’s front door, but no one answered. They proceeded to tap on the windows and other doors while continuing to announce their arrival, according to Jensen. A dispatcher then tried calling the landline, but the phone rang for 30 seconds and went to voice mail.

After nearly an hour of trying to make contact, deputies called paramedics for what they believed was a medical emergency. Officers once again announced their presence before attempting to force their way through the front door, which wouldn’t budge because it was reinforced with steel.

Deputies say that when they entered the house, they came face to face with a gun-wielding man later identified as Craig. According to Jensen, the man ignored orders to drop his weapon and aimed the .38 caliber revolver at deputies, which prompted Sgt. Ulrich to fatally shoot him.

In Mercury News report, a friend of Craig’s questions deputies’ version of events. The friend told the newspaper that Craig, a Navy veteran, thought the officers banging on his doors were intruders.

Ulrich was placed on paid leave—standard protocol whenever an officer discharges a service weapon. The Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office will conduct a joint investigation into the incident.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. So here we have yet another murder by law enforcement believing they are above the law and because they are scumbag criminals who are not properly trained who can take the life of an
    innocent person with no remorse/regard for human life. These kind of incidents happen every day in America, because our 2nd Amendment has been completely eviscerated. No one will be held accountable. 1) The elderly man was in his own home. 2) The Deputies broke into his home/made forced entry. 3) They surely announced themselves, but the old man might have been hard of hearing. 4) Knowing that his home was being broken into, he grabbed his gun. 5) Rather than diffusing the situation and making clear that they were there for a safety/welfare check, and as soon as they saw the man had a gun; They shot him. I highly doubt Mr. Craig even pointed the gun at them.
    Even if he did, they should have put their hands up and said: “Sheriff’s Department, put the gun down”
    No police officer has a right to shoot anyone simply because they have a gun. America is done, finished, over with, and we have lost all our rights, because of criminals in business, government, and law enforcement.

  2. Shouldnt the story read “Elderly man gunned down by deputies” that would be far more inflammatory and would most likely keep this story alive longer therefore boosting “ratings”… You guys are slipping, please work a little harder on your bias. On another note I dont know the exact circumstances but it sounds like a sad situation. Would have been better to leave the welfare check and if he was later found dead of a medical emergency, deal with those consequences as opposed to having to shoot anyone with a real or toy gun. Its just a lose situation for law enforcement… Nothing here going back into service.

  3. This is so sad. Sad that he was killed in his own home while minding his own business and sad that the deputy had no choice, being that his own life was in danger. I would bet that this elderly gentleman was probably really confused and thought someone was breaking into his home, thus the reason for the weapon. He may not have understood it was a deputy even though I am sure they announced themselves as so. Confused elderly people can’t make sense of anything you tell them. His family is probably so horrified. I am sorry for all of them.

  4. The protective value of a firearm is wholly dependent upon who is holding it. As we have seen countless times, firearms in the hands of children, lunatics, and those disabled by age, not only do not provide protection, they increase peril. The fact that this old man was unable to be roused by a ringing phone or persistent knocking on his home’s doors and windows is strong evidence that he was too infirm to responsibly possess a firearm. That he failed to comprehend the identities of his intruders, despite their uniforms and pronouncements, renders that evidence conclusive.

    Perhaps one day the sheriff’s department will have a robot to use for non-emergency entries such as this one (where it was deemed safe to allow an hour to pass), but regardless, this case should be used to alert those with age-impaired loved ones of the dangers of gun ownership.

    • Since it was mentioned, the Sheriff’s office does have a robot for high risk & non-emergency entries. Like most equipment, the leadership in the office is probably either unaware it exists or doesn’t understand how it can be used.

      At what point does a person lose their right to protect their castle? From everything I have heard and read on this, why did the deputies go in with guns drawn if they felt it was a medical emergency? What changed in that hour to determine there was a medical emergency that required entry, because it’s being alleged by some sources there were indicators this was not the case before entry was made. When confronted by an elderly male why didn’t they retreat and again attempt to establish communications via the open door? Would you be terrified if someone was going around pounding on your doors & windows for an hour and then trying to bust in doors? For all we know phone ringers were off for the evening. None of these eliminate your right to protect yourself in your own home. Neither does the inability to hear what people outside your home are saying. Hearing disabilities do not void your right to protect your home from someone who enters it without permission or warrant. There is no law that says someone with a physical disability can not own a gun.

      A deputy should be aware of these facts when he enters under these circumstances and proceed accordingly which leaves me to ask, what exactly is Sheriff Laurie Smith’s policy on entry homes while conducting wellness checks? None from what I understand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *