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

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>>

  • Motorcyclist killed in crash on Sherman Pass

    Motorcyclist killed in crash on Sherman Pass

    Monday, July 16 2018 1:58 AM EDT2018-07-16 05:58:31 GMT

    SHERMAN PASS, Wash.- A 53-year-old man was killed Sunday after a crash involving a motorcycle and transit van. The crash happened on State Route 20, just before 6pm on Sunday, about 14 miles east of Republic.

    >>

    SHERMAN PASS, Wash.- A 53-year-old man was killed Sunday after a crash involving a motorcycle and transit van. The crash happened on State Route 20, just before 6pm on Sunday, about 14 miles east of Republic.

    >>
  • Firefighter mauled by pit bull at scene of house fire

    Firefighter mauled by pit bull at scene of house fire

    Sunday, July 15 2018 3:47 PM EDT2018-07-15 19:47:12 GMT

    SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a Northern California firefighter was mauled in the face by a pit bull after helping extinguish a house fire.    The East Bay Times reports Alameda County Fire Battalion Chief John Whiting received "extremely severe facial damage" in the attack Saturday in San Leandro.    Division Chief Alan Evans says Whiting required extensive reconstructive surgery.

    >>

    SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a Northern California firefighter was mauled in the face by a pit bull after helping extinguish a house fire.    The East Bay Times reports Alameda County Fire Battalion Chief John Whiting received "extremely severe facial damage" in the attack Saturday in San Leandro.    Division Chief Alan Evans says Whiting required extensive reconstructive surgery.

    >>
  • 3 family members killed in southwest Washington crash

    3 family members killed in southwest Washington crash

    Sunday, July 15 2018 5:55 PM EDT2018-07-15 21:55:32 GMT

    KALAMA, Wash. (AP) - Authorities say a rollover crash on Interstate 5 in southwest Washington killed a child and two grandparents.    The Daily News reports that the crash happened Saturday afternoon when a northbound sport-utility vehicle struck a median near Kalama. The Washington State Patrol says it was driven by a woman transporting her parents and three children.

    >>

    KALAMA, Wash. (AP) - Authorities say a rollover crash on Interstate 5 in southwest Washington killed a child and two grandparents.    The Daily News reports that the crash happened Saturday afternoon when a northbound sport-utility vehicle struck a median near Kalama. The Washington State Patrol says it was driven by a woman transporting her parents and three children.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • New Jersey man, teenage boy indicted in child's shooting death

    New Jersey man, teenage boy indicted in child's shooting death

    Monday, July 16 2018 11:23 AM EDT2018-07-16 15:23:54 GMT

    A man and a teenager have been indicted on murder charges in a shooting that left a 10-year-old boy dead and his mother wounded.    Monmouth County prosecutors say 18-year-old Karon Council and 16-year-old Jah-Del Birch, both of Neptune Township, also face charges of attempted murder, conspiracy, aggravated assault and weapons offenses in the indictment handed up by a county grand jury. It was made public Monday.  

    >>

    A man and a teenager have been indicted on murder charges in a shooting that left a 10-year-old boy dead and his mother wounded.    Monmouth County prosecutors say 18-year-old Karon Council and 16-year-old Jah-Del Birch, both of Neptune Township, also face charges of attempted murder, conspiracy, aggravated assault and weapons offenses in the indictment handed up by a county grand jury. It was made public Monday.  

    >>
  • Trump to Putin: The world wants us to get along

    Trump to Putin: The world wants us to get along

    Monday, July 16 2018 11:23 AM EDT2018-07-16 15:23:38 GMT

    HELSINKI - Britain's prime minister has launched a strong attack on Russia even as President Donald Trump is sitting down with his Russian counterpart at the Helsinki summit. Theresa May told Parliament Monday that Russia's leadership is committed to trying to undermine Western values on a number of fronts.

    >>

    HELSINKI - Britain's prime minister has launched a strong attack on Russia even as President Donald Trump is sitting down with his Russian counterpart at the Helsinki summit. Theresa May told Parliament Monday that Russia's leadership is committed to trying to undermine Western values on a number of fronts.

    >>
  • Pennsylvania mother accused of killing baby with drug-laced breast milk

    Pennsylvania mother accused of killing baby with drug-laced breast milk

    Monday, July 16 2018 11:05 AM EDT2018-07-16 15:05:53 GMT

    Prosecutors say a Pennsylvania mother killed her 11-week-old son with a lethal mix of drugs in her breast milk.    Samantha Jones was charged Friday with criminal homicide in the April 2 death of her baby.    The Bucks County District Attorney's office says an autopsy found the baby died from a combination of methadone, amphetamine and methamphetamine.

    >>

    Prosecutors say a Pennsylvania mother killed her 11-week-old son with a lethal mix of drugs in her breast milk.    Samantha Jones was charged Friday with criminal homicide in the April 2 death of her baby.    The Bucks County District Attorney's office says an autopsy found the baby died from a combination of methadone, amphetamine and methamphetamine.

    >>