Spokane divided over shooting of criminal

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Professional thief that "made a few mistakes"

Professional thief that “made a few mistakes”

Community divided over shooting of car thief

Spokesman Review: A poster intended to memorialize “a friend and son” has become a message board for a community divided about whether a Spokane homeowner was justified in killing an unarmed man who stole his Suburban.
“Murder is not the answer,” one note says. “Don’t commit crime! This is what happens!!” reads another.
The board is nailed to a North Lee Street utility pole next to the garage police say 25-year-old Brendon Kaluza-Graham slammed into after 56-year-old Gail Gerlach shot him in the back of the head after he stole his SUV.
Gerlach has not been charged in the shooting. Although he fired his gun as Kaluza-Graham drove away, he told police the man appeared to be armed, according to court documents.
Gerlach grew up in the Chief Garry Park neighborhood and stayed there to raise his own family. Neighbors who know him were unwilling to talk much because they said they didn’t want to gossip. One woman who has known him most of his life, though, said he’s “a good man.” Another called him a “good dad.”
Residents suggested Wednesday that Gerlach’s actions may have been triggered by frustration over property crime in the neighborhood. Dan Wilson, a resident who is also a caretaker for the owner of the destroyed garage, said many people have been coming by in the last two days to share their opinions.
Gail Gerlach could face second-degree murder charges.
The grandmother of the thief, Ann Kaluza, told MyFoxSpokane he was a wonderful grandson, and not a violent person.
The dead thief’s license was revoked when he spent a year in jail on charges of vehicle theft, possessing  drugs and assaulting a police officer.  He was just released in January, and was applying for jobs.  Before that, he’d been convicted four times for taking a vehicle without permission stealing a vehicle.
Kaluza admits her grandson made a few mistakes the last few years, but says he didn’t deserve to die.
Police say  Kaluza-Graham had just jumped into a running SUV and was driving away when the owner of the SUV fired one shot.  The medical examiner reported the shot hit him in the head, and ruled his death a homicide.
“To me, it was an  execution, he was driving away and he was shot in the back of the head,” she said. “It’s one thing to have someone you love taken from you accidentally, but to be shot needlessly?  Our thought is, if he just wanted his car back, why didn’t he shoot for the tire?”
“I’d like it all undone, I’d like my grandson back,” Kaluza said tearfully.  “I don’t wish ill will on people, but this gun violence has to stop.”
This thief was a professional criminal who broke the law by stealing other people’s properties. In my opinion, you open yourself up to consequences when you steal someone else’s property. But others disagree. What do you think?


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0 responses to “Spokane divided over shooting of criminal

  1. He won’t be stealing any more cars! A criminal is a criminal, when you chose that profession then you have to realize that you are more than likely be shot. Don’t do the crime and you won’t have to worry about getting shot! Semper Fi.

  2. That grandmother is a piece of work, deflecting her grandson’s short life of crime into an issue about “gun violence.”

  3. Vic, you are right. If you don’t do anything wrong, you don’t have to worry about getting caught – or shot in this case. Problem is no one under 30 knows right from wrong or anything else for that matter.

  4. This p.o.s. got what he deserved . ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENSES .You want to play with fire , eventually you get BURNED . Life’s a bitch , grandma and perp …………Deal with it !!!!!

  5. Old North State

    I wonder how many times Grandma bailed this POS out of jail and how many times the POS stole money from her. People work very hard to be able to buy and operate a vehicle and this POS burgles and steals. The taxpayers have been freed from the bondage of having to repeatedly prosecute, jail, pay for his health care while in jail, supervise his parole, and own and own. He didn’t steal ONE car-he kept doing it over and over and only a bullet stopped his crimes.

  6. Tough one to pick…but going to Scripture one finds it isn’t impossible to settle.
    Firstly, killing a robber was only permitted when under clear threat. Shooting him as he flees doesn’t apply.
    However, a child which refused to repent of lawless rebellion after many opportunities was to be executed by the community by stoning. The POS thief in the OP, and the assorted whiners who weren’t repeatedly robbed by him, shouldn’t complain about his experiencing a sub-optimum outcome to his career. A thorough lashing followed by penal labour would have been better, though impossible in todays’s injustice system.
    Thieves were to restore their loot fourfold, a very effectice deterrent. Apply that one to Wall Street and cushy bureacracy, lol.
    A judge was responsible to get to the truth of a case and was responsible for his ruling. Two or more witnesses required for admissible evidence.
    Favour was forbidden on account of position, rich or poor, black or white, foreign or native, male or female.
    A false accuser received the sentence he tried to inflict on his would be victim.
    So should the shooter in the OP be charged with murder? Imho, no, manslaughter at most with a very lenient sentence and no loss of property or rights. But also dismiss and charge the idiots that repeatedly released the repeat offender with public endagerment and incompetence, no leniency on them. Selah.

    • I hear you, and emotionally concur.
      Let’s see: ““Murder is not the answer,” one note says.”” Hmm, OK, then what is? Can the writer happily consent to what could be a lifetime of “correction” of this poor sod, at his/taxpayer expense of say US $25,000/year?
      I note the felon’s L eyelid is drooping: this is often a sign of brain damage in an area I can’t recall the name of: this guy may suffer from PERMANENT DEFECTIVE reasoning. No matter what was done to and for him, he’d return to his village the same idiot who left.
      I met a fool like this in a WA state maximum penitentiary: he was in for the second time around on B&E, in a state which was among the first to pass a “Three strikes you’re OUT!” law. I suggested he learn a trade and get a job upon release; instead, he avidly told me he’d “figured it out so I won’t get caught the next time.”
      I turned on him and said in a loud voice, “If you’re so smart how come you got caught a second time? Next time you’re down for 25 years for stealing what? A loaf of bread?”
      “You can’t talk to me like that!” he yelled back.
      “I just did,” I said, turned, and walked away.
      Prison population is LOADED w/sub-normal IQ dolts because of excessive breeding w/o responsibility. That doesn’t happen on farms, where every animal counts. The ones that are truly superfluous, especially the males, are slaughtered, so the rest can be cared for properly and benefit the farmer.
      I’m NOT judging, just stating the facts, mam!

  7. Until thiefs come up against “the hard facts of life” law abiding citizens will never be safe or free from their actions. I would never sit on a jury and convict a homeowner of “murder” under these circumstances–regardless of what our “Laws” say. Sometimes I think those societies that cut off the hand of one who steals have the right idea (I guess we’d have a lot of one handed wallstreet tycoons.)

    • A fine idea, by my lights. W/any luck, if we remove the same hand they used to masturbate, then we’d FINALLY have an end to their stupid talk of ‘self-made millionaires’!

  8. I am surprised so many of you call yourselves conservatives and don’t know our gun laws. In this case, you do not have the choice of having an opinion. This man shot someone when his life was not in danger, in the back of the head nonetheless. @Auntie Lulu, if you think the law can be bent then what is to say someone doesn’t just leave a truck running in a parking lot and hide in the shadows with a gun. You may think a lot, but you forget quality>quantity.

    • Yes, your point is well-made: it’s rarely a good idea to shoot someone who is fleeing, especially if they were unarmed. However, it’s not useful to lump us all together as your blanket ‘conservative’. I’m a Christian anarchist, the most Conservative position of all; I think everyone else here is somewhere to my L side, to use the old analogy taken from the seating in the French Assembly. And you are coming from where in this philosophical-political spectrum?

    • I’m a gun owner, have my CLP, and am fully aware of the gun laws.
      In case you didn’t read the quote from the gun owner, He thought the man appeared to be armed. We weren’t there and can’t decipher how much danger this man thought his life was in. What if the criminal was armed (which isn’t rare for a thief), and pulled his weapon out the window as he drove off? I personally probably wouldn’t have shot the thief yet can’t say for sure.
      Too bad criminals think the law can be bent to suit their needs.

  9. I’m sure the best his lawyer could do under the circumstances is to have his client claim that he felt threatened by Kaluza. The facts tell a different tale. I truly grieve for the ‘wild west’ logic that so many responders have shown.
    We are supposed to be a civilized society and the prevalence of guns and the fantasies that surround them makes my blood run cold.

    • “the fantasies that surround them [guns] makes my blood run cold”
      Then I’m sure you’ll agree that the administrators of that school who suspended a student for a gun-shaped pastry are full of “fantasies”:

    • And what is your definition of a ” civilized society “? In a ” civilized society ” , there would not be creeps looking to steal another man or woman’s possessions . In a ” civilized society “, we would not have a so-called commander -in-chief ordering drone strikes over-seas killing American citizens without due process .
      In a ” civilized society ” we would not have C.I.A. mind-controlled idiots shooting up theaters and schools just to push an agenda . And last but surely not least . Would we have a pres. who’s biggest accomplishment is to give our country a healthcare system that in time (2014 ) , will make England’s and Canada’s look palatable .
      To the admin. , feel free to edit anything I mis-typed . Y’all have a good Easter .

    • Dear Jan Hopwood: I have no idea how much you’ve read of what histories usually refer to as “the opening of the American West” (which includes Canada as well), so please bear with me for a moment.
      This era is usually accepted as lasting from 1835 to 1885, far more brief a period than it is usually thought; it begins w/the westward movement of non-native people from Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, etc. (what had been the earlier colonial era frontier), and is deemed to have ended with the settling of the West Coast, the use of barbed wire and other fencing to enclose areas for ranching, and the transcontinental railroads. Of course there were still vast spaces to be filled by later settlers, but the ‘open range’ that was the prime characteristic of ‘the wild west’ for all practical purposes over. It is also possible to follow this history by delineating what type of firearms were devised, how they were used, where they were prevalent, etc., much as we use numismatics to catalogue the Roman Republic and Empire, for example.
      Nor was that era as wild as Hollywood would have us believe; those cinematic epics are for a great part truly “the ‘wild west’ logic” and ‘fantasies,’ as you noted. The truth is that 90%+ of the population was simply too busy –just as we moderns are– getting their daily bread and surviving as best they could, in an environment no one had foreknowledge of or could have made themselves ready for beforehand. Yes, there were plenty of disputes and anger over territorial issues, land claims, ownership, and so on, but the records show nearly all were verbal and legalistic, settled by fist fights, shouting matches, and the courts. Firearms were primarily for use against wild animals and native humans, who were the former majority residents before the newly-arrived occupiers. As Newton had pointed out 200 years earlier, two bodies cannot occupy the same space; if those two bodies should be human, nearly anything is possible!

    • “The facts tell a different tale.” Do tell, what facts are we missing? Were you at the scene when the perp committed the crime? Have you spoken with the car owner or the police? Awaiting all the additional facts you may know of.
      In a civilized society, no criminals would exist.

  10. Mea culpa! This sentence, “Of course there were still vast spaces to be filled by later settlers, but the ‘open range’ that was the prime characteristic of ‘the wild west’ for all practical purposes over”, lacks its secondary operative verb, and should read “…the ‘open range’ that was the prime characteristic of ‘the wild west’ was, for all practical purposes, over.”
    My students must be having a good laugh at the old guy’s expense!

  11. lol DCG you so callously forgot to mention that he shot the guy in the back of the head as he drove away. That is not self defense. As far as I am concerned, when you shoot someone in self defense, the dead guy better have a weapon or you should go to jail. A civilized society recognizes that people can be rehabilitated. Be a man, pay your insurance. There is no reason to kill someone over 2 grand when you sure as hell don’t kill someone who steals 50 bln. At least the 2 grand can be replaced from your 2 dollar a month insurance payment. Those people who lost money to Madoff aren’t getting it back. So how does that all add up?

    • lol Civilized, I did mention that the perp was shot in the back of the head. Re-read the post, especially paragraph three.
      Re-read the post, especially paragraph four, where the car owner thought the perp appeared to be armed. As far as I’m concerned, I wasn’t at the scene of the perp stealing the car. What if the perp pulled out a weapon as he drove off?
      “when you shoot someone in self defense, the dead guy better have a weapon or you should go to jail”…So let me get this straight. If a woman lives alone and a man breaks into her home in the middle of the night, she can’t shoot him in self defense unless he has a weapon? What if he doesn’t have a weapon and planned to harm her by just overpowering her with his physical strength? She shoots him dead, cops find no weapon on him, now the victim has to go to jail? So how does that all add up?

  12. For those who have “all the facts” – the matter is still under investigation.
    “The circumstances surrounding the confrontation could require examining a half-dozen or more potentially applicable state statutes. That number could narrow or grow depending on the findings of the investigation. The fact that no weapon was found doesn’t necessarily matter in a potential self-defense claim. If the guy reasonably thought there was a gun, that’s what the case is about. It doesn’t matter that there wasn’t a gun.the attorneys agreed that Gerlach’s belief, even a mistaken one, could justify his actions.”

  13. The Spokane prosecutors are now charging Gerlach with first degree manslaughter, sigh. Hope he gets a great lawyer. With a jury from eastern WA, he’s more than likely to see some gunowners on his jury.

  14. Gail Gerlach was acquitted today of the manslaughter charges:


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