Saratoga, CA -- The widow of an 86-year-old Navy veteran who was gunned down by armed intruders in his own home, has filed a lawsuit against her husband's killers -- the Santa Clara County sheriff's department.
Eugene Craig was gunned down by police as he attempted to shield his wife from armed intruders who'd just broken into his home. The armed intruders were cops.
On Sept. 12, 2016, according to Harue Craig's attorneys, prior to the shooting, deputies kicked down two doors before opening fire inside the Craigs' Saratoga home on Titus Avenue.
As KTVU reports, attorneys said their client stated that both she and her late husband were “very scared” and did not know why their doors were being kicked down.
The elderly couple thought they were victims of a home invasion, so Eugene grabbed his .38 caliber revolver and bravely stood in front of his wife as they listened to the intruders come into their home.
When the intruders opened the bedroom door, they saw the elderly vet standing there with the revolver and one deputy opened fire. Although there were multiple deputies in the home, deputy Doug Ulrich was the only one who felt the need to begin shooting.
Eugene died on the scene.
According to police, they were at the home to conduct a welfare check. The sheriff's office said that deputies clearly identified themselves, called the home phone, and tapped on windows repeatedly before entering.
in spite of their alleged efforts to identify themselves, the couple still didn't believe them. After all, they were both entirely innocent and cops coming into their home was a far-fetched idea. Any home invader could simply claim they're the police to easily gain entry into someone's home.
The tragic irony of this situation is that police claim they were there to protect the couple, noting that they had gotten word that someone inside the home was in distress. Sadly, this is what happens when militarized police are sent into an innocent couple's home to check on their wellbeing.
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After he killed the innocent elderly Navy veteran, Ulrich was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings in the county.
Naturally, after they killed the innocent man -- while 'protecting' him -- police immediately attempted to justify their actions.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said, "By law, officers are allowed to use deadly force when they or others are faced with imminent danger."
However, the only ones who created the threat of imminent danger were the police.
According to the District Attorney's Office, they are still reviewing the incident, noting their office "investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal."
Welfare checks, as they are known in the United States, are crap shoots that have the potential to explode into violence at any moment. The Free Thought Project has reported on numerous instances in which police have shown up to 'protect' someone who may be suicidal or in distress only to end up hurting or killing them.
One such instance is Benjamin Burruss, 58, who narrowly escaped with his life after police targeted him for a welfare check.
As we previously reported, Burruss had not threatened to harm anyone, was not suspected of any criminal activity, and was not mentally ill, when a police tactical team confronted him, surrounded his truck, deployed a “stinger” device behind the rear tires, launched a flash grenade, smashed the side window in order to drag him from the truck, handcuffed and searched him, and transported him to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and mental health hold.
There is also the story of Kayden Clarke, whose video about living with Asperger's went viral and touched millions. However, when police were conducting a welfare check on him, after reports that he may be suicidal, they barged into his home and killed him.
Nothing will bring back Harue Craig's beloved husband. However, her lawsuit will serve as yet another reminder of the effect of police violence on situations that require no force at all. When law enforcement's only tool is a hammer -- everything begins to look like a nail.