(CBS SF) — The 90-year-old wife of a Navy veteran who was shot dead inside his Saratoga home last year by a Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputy has filed a complaint against the deputy and the county for civil rights and excessive force violations.
Eugene Craig, 86, was killed September 12 after deputies arrived for a welfare check at his home on the 12000 block Titus Avenue shortly before 8:00 p.m.
The complaint states that the couple heard what sounded like intruders trying to break in. Craig armed himself with a .38 revolver and stood in front of his wife, Harue Craig, as the intruder kicked down two doors to force his way inside.
Sheriff’s Deputy Douglas Ulrich shot Craig multiple times as his wife cowered behind him, the complaint said.
At the time of the shooting, the sheriff’s office said deputies had tried without success to contact the people inside the home for about 5o minutes before going around the and entering the home through a back door.
Deputies found Craig, who was holding a loaded handgun, and told him to drop the weapon, according to Lt. James Jensen. Craig allegedly brandished the revolver at deputies and Ulrich shot him, Jensen said.
Craig died of his injuries at the hospital. Ulrich was placed on paid administrative following the shooting, Jensen said.
According to the complaint, about 15 minutes before the deputies forced their way inside the home, a neighbor and friend of the Craig’s approached and offered to try to get a hold of them, but the offer was declined and the neighbor was told to stand back.
The complaint also alleges unnamed deputies and administrative staff with the sheriff’s department failed to properly assess the need for and train on use of deadly force, were negligent in use of tactics, and maintained a code of silence with respect to “deputy sheriffs’ errors, misconduct or crimes.”
Harue Craig’s complaint, a precursor to a lawsuit, seeks compensatory damages for emotional distress, wrongful death along with punitive damages against the defendants.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.