SPOKANE, Wash – The Spokane County Prosecutor's Office is now officially beginning to review the case surrounding the shooting death of a man who was stealing a car in North Spokane.
It was late March when Gail Gerlach left his SUV running in his N. Lee driveway, and came back to find a man, later identified as Brendan Kaluza-Graham, in the driver's seat backing it away. Gerlach called police, and reported he thought Kaluza-Graham had a gun and was going to shoot. Gerlach fired one shot, hitting Kaluza-Graham in the head, killing him.
Kaluza-Graham was later found to be un-armed.
In the days and weeks that followed, there was an impassioned outcry from the community on both sides. Some people believe Gerlach acted in self-defense and has the right to protect his property. Others say someone should be held accountable for the shooting death of an un-armed man.
Up until this point, Spokane Police were waiting on one final piece of the investigation – the ballistics report. That has now been completed, and the entire case is under review, including the police interview with Gail Gerlach, other witness statements, evidence collected at the scene, photos and video from the scene, and the medical examiner's report.
Police were investigating the scene as second-degree murder; however, the prosecutor's office can decide on a lesser charge, or none at all.
A decision is expected to be reached this week or next.