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Washington Man on Trial for Shooting Car Thief

A Washington man is on trial Friday morning, accused of first-degree manslaughter for gunning down a man who was stealing his SUV.

Gail Gerlach, 56, walked outside his Spokane home to see Brendon Kaluza-Graham driving off in his SUV on March 25, 2013, so he fired a single shot from his 9mm semiautomatic from about 60 feet away.

The bullet went through the rear window and headrest, hitting Kaluza-Graham’s spine at the base of the skull and killing him almost instantly. Gerlach has a permit for the weapon.


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Wow, now that was quite the

Wow, now that was quite the shot.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

The Bottom Line In This C@se

...is how jury selection goes. It's more import@nt th@n the evidence or the testimony.


I had pellet rifle as a kid and was asked to shoot a bird from a distance. I didn't want to shoot it once I saw it in my sights, so I aimed off to the side hoping to miss, but I didn't account for the wind and got a head shot on it. I wonder if this guy was aiming to kill, or just wanting to make the car look suspicious enough for cops to notice.

Phxarcher87's picture

In Arizona

you cant kill someone over property. But if they are within 25 feet of you and the cops show up and they are dead its your word against the state. Now in Texas you can kill over private property.

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect" - Mark Twain

Great shot, though excessive

Great shot, though excessive force. A car thief doesn't deserve the death penalty.

Anyway, he should have known only cops can murder people without getting into trouble.

Excessive, Hell.

A thief takes thousands of vehicles and the livelyhood for all of the owners, until stopped.

The more thieves get themselves killed, the fewer cops we need to put up with.
A vehicle can be the second most expensive thing you buy in your life that you paid on for years and years of your labor.
Your monthly insurance payment is partially for car theft.

Cancel violin lessons for the kids. Lose your job. Cancel the vacation. I hitch hiked to work for 5 months when deprived of my car.

These thieves condemn us all to a life of countless keys, locking and unlocking, paying for security systems, worrying if we locked up.

Locked yourself out? Broke the key off in the lock. Had to buy burglar bars? Blame the thieves.

I hope my shot is as clean and true as the plumber's shot from Washington.

“There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.”
― Frédéric Bastiat

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty" TJ

It isn't a question of whether he deserved to die or not

If someone stole my car it would leave me without the ability to earn a living for my family. I would have done exactly what this guy did - he defended his property as we should all have the right to do.

I agree

He said he thought he saw the man pointing a gun at him, but obviously that's a smart lie.

I agree that the thief does not deserve death, but the owner could very well rely on his property for his own life. So he has every right to stop someone from stealing his property. Now if the man had abandoned the car and started running away, that would be a different story.

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."

what is the law?

A fleeing criminal does not deserve the death sentence, nor is in endangering any lives.

Washington is a "stand your ground" state, but that is only if you are endangered.

Yes, even police are trained to not fire on fleeing suspects.

Can anyone say double standard?


However In both instances the men doing the shooting need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Deadly force should ONLY EVER BE USED TO DEFEND ONESELF OR ANOTHER FROM DEADLY THREAT.

Ron Paul - Intellectual hero

So what is the correct course of action?

I think you would agree that you have every right to your property and a thief has zero right to your property. So what recourse do you have at your disposal if someone is stealing your property with the guarantee that they do not mean you any bodily harm? Alert the local police department? That is not a guarantee that your property will ever be returned. Let your property be stolen and hope that your insurance will reimburse you the cost of the item? That is not an acceptable solution.

are you serious?

This isn't about your measly properly.

You value property higher than human life?

People like you give libertarians a bad name. I am disgusted by your comment.

My property IS my life

My property is obtained by trading the limited resource that I own which is my life energy.

I don't find this man's actions objectionable and I don't place much value on the life of a man who would steal from another.

No subject

I did not know it was a libertarian tenant to apologize for criminals and criminal behavior. I make no such apology. It is not the fault of the property owner that a criminal came and disturbed his peaceful existence. And I will not paint this man into a corner and dictate how he should respond to a disturbance of his peace.

Since you are the libertarian expert what is the libertarian response to someone stealing your "measly" property be it an object valued in the millions or an object valued in the thousands. Be it an object your rely on for your existence or something you just happen to own and enjoy.

Thing I learned: Some "libertarians" are absolute scumbags


What is a serf to do?

So what is a serf "allowed" to do if another serf is stealing there property?

Horse theives were hanged by the neck until dead

in some states. I think its still a blue law in my state.
Whats the difference, between a car thief today and a horse thief in 1800's?

Seems like Washington state's monopoly on force is being threatened, and people can't be trusted in any situation.


"Take hold of the future or the future will take hold of you." -- Patrick Dixon


Great shot .

I'd rather have a bottle in front o' me than a frontal lobotomy

Stupid man!

Only cops can kill at will without impunity.
Regardless of recklessness or anything.

Shoulda had a badge.