Spokane divided over shooting of criminal

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The dead thief’s license was revoked when he spent a year in jail on charges of vehicle theft, possessing  drugs and assaulting a police officer.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?


DCG

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Vic Bailey
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Vic Bailey

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.

Dr. Eowyn
Admin

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

Bart
Guest
Bart

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.

japoa
Guest

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 !!!!!

Old North State
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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.

Stefan v
Guest
Stefan v

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… Read more »

Auntie Lulu
Guest
Auntie Lulu

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.)

Civilized
Guest
Civilized

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.

jan hopwood
Guest
jan hopwood

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.

josephbc69
Guest

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!

Civilized
Guest
Civilized

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… Read more »

DCG
Guest

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.
https://mynorthwest.com/76/2284454/Spokane-homeowner-who-shot-carjacker-charged-with-manslaughter