Death of Man Shot While Stealing A Car Being Investigated As Mur - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Death of Man Shot While Stealing A Car Being Investigated As Murder

Posted: Updated:

SPOKANE, Wash – It's an unfortunate shooting that has polarized the Inland Northwest: was the shooting death of man killed while in the process of stealing a car a justified shooting?

While there is still no definite answer, we are learning more about the moments that lead up to the shooting in the 1400 block of N. Lee in Spokane just before 8 a.m. Monday.

Court records released Wednesday show that Spokane Police are investigating the shooting death of Brendon Kaluza-Graham, 25, as second-degree murder.  However, nobody has been charged in the crime.

Records show Gail Gerlach, 56, told police he left his SUV running in his driveway and stepped into the garage.  But when he came out, a man was in the driver's seat backing the SUV out.  Gerlach called 911 and chased after his SUV on foot down N. Lee. But then, records show, he saw the man in the driver's seat turn around, raise his arm, and Gerlach saw what he thought was a gun.

He told police he thought the man, later identified as Kaluza-Graham, was going to shoot, so he pulled out his 9 mm and fired one shot into the SUV. 

The medical examiner reported that shot hit Kaluza-Graham in the head, and he died at the scene two blocks from where the SUV was stolen.

Gerlach does have a concealed weapons permit, and police say the 9 mm was on his body when the SUV was stolen.  Gerlach owns a local plumbing business founded by his father.

Police explained a little more Wednesday about why the case is being investigated as second-degree murder, but no charges have been filed.

"If you look on the search warrant it says ‘name the felony herein,' so that's the crime we're investigating," Spokane Police Lt. Mark Griffiths said, referring to the warrant to search the stolen SUV for evidence.  "That doesn't mean we're going to find evidence of that crime, but that is what we are looking for."

Lt. Griffiths said the case could still boil down to self-defense; that determination will be up to the prosecutor.  Spokane Police may make a recommendation on whether charges should be filed, but have not decided whether they will.

In searching the SUV in which Kaluza-Graham was shot and killed, police did not find a weapon.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Thursday, March 20 2014 1:04 PM EDT2014-03-20 17:04:11 GMT
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
  • VIRAL VIDEO: Holy Moly! This girl is definitely NOT afraid of spiders!

    VIRAL VIDEO: Holy Moly! This girl is definitely NOT afraid of spiders!

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:00:12 GMT
    KHQ.COM - You don't even know what this girl is about to do to prove she is definitely NOT afraid of spiders! Is she crazy or just fearless? Would you do this for $500? $1,000? $20,000? >>>WATCH>>>>>
    KHQ.COM - You don't even know what this girl is about to do to prove she is definitely NOT afraid of spiders! Is she crazy or just fearless? Would you do this for $500? $1,000? $20,000? >>>WATCH>>>>>
  • Barista-stand owner faces prostitution charge

    Barista-stand owner faces prostitution charge

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:10 AM EDT2014-09-01 14:10:27 GMT
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - Authorities say the owner of bikini coffee stands in Washington state banked more than $2 million in just three years because her baristas were also selling sex acts. Snohomish County prosecutors charged 52-year-old former nude dancer Carmela Panico with promoting prostitution and money laundering, alleging that she was the madam of drive-thru brothels throughout the county north of Seattle.>>
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - Authorities say the owner of bikini coffee stands in Washington state banked more than $2 million in just three years because her baristas were also selling sex acts. Snohomish County prosecutors charged 52-year-old former nude dancer Carmela Panico with promoting prostitution and money laundering, alleging that she was the madam of drive-thru brothels throughout the county north of Seattle.
    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • BREAKING: One person dead after hit & run in Spokane Valley

    BREAKING: One person dead after hit & run in Spokane Valley

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:03 AM EDT2014-09-02 10:03:43 GMT
    One person is dead after a hit and run near I-90 Park Rd. in Spokane Valley. It happened around 1:30 am.>>
    One person is dead after a hit and run near I-90 Park Rd. in Spokane Valley. It happened around 1:30 am.
    >>
  • Police search for armed robbery suspect

    Police search for armed robbery suspect

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 3:23 AM EDT2014-09-02 07:23:19 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A man walked into a Zip Trip gas station brandishing a hand gun and stole cash Monday night, according to Spokane Police.The robbery happened at about 10:30 p.m. at the Zip Trip on East Illinois Avenue, just north of where Perry Street intersects with Illinois. Spokane Police say the man walked in and showed employees the handgun. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A man walked into a Zip Trip gas station brandishing a hand gun and stole cash Monday night, according to Spokane Police.The robbery happened at about 10:30 p.m. at the Zip Trip on East Illinois Avenue, just north of where Perry Street intersects with Illinois. Spokane Police say the man walked in and showed employees the handgun. >>
  • Wildfire Victim Searches For Strength To Rebuild

    Wildfire Victim Searches For Strength To Rebuild

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 12:28 AM EDT2014-09-02 04:28:11 GMT
    ALTA LAKE, Wash. - "John Neuneker Sr. built almost everything on his property with his own two hands, including the home in which he and his wife Laurie raised their four children.“It was a family thing,” Neuneker told KHQ. “Not just my wife. My kids, all of us chipped in. We built the whole thing ourselves.” Their log cabin was one of many things Neuneker lost in the Carlton Complex Fire.>>
    ALTA LAKE, Wash. - "John Neuneker Sr. built almost everything on his property with his own two hands, including the home in which he and his wife Laurie raised their four children.“It was a family thing,” Neuneker told KHQ. “Not just my wife. My kids, all of us chipped in. We built the whole thing ourselves.” Their log cabin was one of many things Neuneker lost in the Carlton Complex Fire.>>