San Francisco Bay Area Violent Crime

Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy Cleared in Saratoga Shooting

Nearly one-and-a-half years after 86-year-old Navy veteran Eugene Craig was shot to death by Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office deputies while standing in his Saratoga home, District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen has ruled the deputy who killed the homeowner will not face criminal charges.

The District Attorney made the announcement in a just-released report.

The report relied on statements from law enforcement, interviews with family members and neighbors, crime scene photos, 9/11 communications and patrol car dashcam footage. The report states that sheriff’s office deputies arrived at the Craig residence just before 8 p.m. on September 12, 2016, to perform a welfare check.

The report says after knocking and getting no response several deputies, led by Sergeant Douglas Ulrich, first kicked in a garage door at the back of the house and then kicked in another door leading from the garage to the interior of the home. There they found Craig with a pistol in his hand. Deputies told investigators that Craig did not drop the gun, despite several verbal commands to do so.

In February, 2017, NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Team talked to eyewitnesses and uncovered evidence that raised questions about whether the deputies needed to force entry into the home, whether that forced entry scared Craig and his wife and whether the forced entry violated proper protocol during what was originally a welfare check to see if the Craig’s were okay.

The DA’s report says Sergeant Ulrich and other deputies feared for their safety and, thus, were “legally justified” in shooting Craig four times as he stood in his own home.

Craigs elderly wife, Harue, filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office, alleging the officers violated her and her husband’s Constitutional Rights and used excessive force when they kicked in two doors to make entry into the home.

Craig’s attorney Ara Jabagchourian told NBC Bay Area that the DA’s report was, “Ultimately, not surprising.”

He added, “The narrative on the factual portion leaves out a whole host of facts that mitigate against even going into the home in the first place.”

The report indicates that Sergeant Ulrich was placed on administrative leave the same evening the shooting occurred, but the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that he is currently “working in a full duty capacity.”

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