End of Watch - June 8, 1986

Deputy Sheriff Doug Miller enjoyed his job. He was working the beat of his choice, the Santa Cruz Mountains. A quiet beat, fantastic views of Santa Cruz and the Santa Clara Valley, large Redwood, Madrone and Oak trees were abundant. Michael Robert Stephens lived on Doug's beat, near Lexington Reservoir. Stephens at the age of 28, was schizophrenic and had numerous other mental problems. During his last week, Stephens depression had grown worse. He was now seeing " illuminated" people, who were out to get him. His mother began to fear for her sons safety and called the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office for help.

Sunday, June 8, 1986, at 8:47 P.M., Deputy Miller was dispatched to the home. Miller had had prior dealings was Stephens and waited for his backup to arrive before he made contact. Deputy Sheriff's Dennis Nixon and William Scott, along with California Highway Patrol Officer Dean Bogios responded to assist Miller. Stephens was in his room, off of the garage when the officers arrived. The windowless room, measuring 8 feet by 8 feet was only lit by the light that filtered through the garage door. Deputy Miller first tried to talk with Stephens and tried to convince him to come outside. When that didn't work they were forced to enter the small room. After entering the room, the deputies tried to subdue Stephens using a carotid restraint. But that didn't work. A struggle then ensued, in which Stephens displayed phenomenal strength. They were finally able to gain control of Stephens, Miller was able to place one handcuff on him. All of sudden, Stephens surprised the deputies and lurched up. He grabbed Deputy Miller's gun from the holster and fired one round. The bullet entered Deputy Miller just under his bullet proof-vest, severing an artery in the groin and fatally wounding him. Stephens then pointed the gun directly at Deputy Scott, who grabbed the gun with both hands and twisted the barrel away from himself. Stephens fired at lease three more rounds. Two struck Deputy Nixon; one went through his right calf while the other struck his handcuff case.

Officer Bogios pulled Deputy Nixon to safety, leaving Deputy Scott alone to struggle with Stephens. Keeping one hand on Stephens gun, Scott reached for his own weapon. Pushing Stephens back, Scott fired one round from his revolver, hitting Stephens in the head. When he saw that Stephens was still advancing, Scott fired three more rounds. All striking Stephens in the head, killing him.

Deputy Doug Miller died early the next morning, never regaining consciences. Deputies Nixon and Scott are still with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. CHP Officer Bogios is still with the Highway Patrol, although he transferred out of the area.

Out of respect for the fallen Deputy, the Santa Clara Board of Supervisor's approved the naming of a county park after Doug Miller. The park now known as Miller Point is located on Lexington Reservoir, not far from where Doug gave his life.

The San Jose Mercury News, June 9,10,& 11, 1986


I never dreamed it would be me,
My name for all eternity,
Recorded here at this hallowed place,
Alas, my name, no more my face.
"In the line of duty," I hear them say;
My family now the price will pay.
My folded flag stained with their tears;
We only had those few short years.
The badge no longer on my chest,
I sleep now in eternal rest.
My sword I pass to those behind,
And I pray they keep this thought in mind.
I never dreamed it would be me,
And with heavy heart and bended knee;
I ask for all here from the past,
Dear God, let my name be the last.
Poem by: George Hahn, Retired Sergeant,
Los Angeles Police Department

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