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 a 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.