While the Spokane metropolitan area ranks fourth in the nation for car thefts, and the general public is sick and tired of being victimized by this crime, stealing a car is not a capital offense. Thus, it is hard to understand why there is apparently little public or official support for the prosecution of Gail Gerlach, who shot an unarmed car thief, Brendon Kaluza-Graham, in the back of his head as he drove away in Gerlach’s vehicle.
None of the reported circumstances indicate that Gerlach was in any imminent danger himself. It seems rather that he was both very angry and armed, a deadly combination in this case.
A society governed by laws must hold all citizens to these laws regardless of how much we may deplore the conduct of some. As far as I know, no law establishes a death sentence for car theft. This shooting smacks of vigilante justice, which I find far more frightening than a car theft.
Let’s hope that our prosecutor has the guts to hold Gerlach accountable for his action before others decide that shooting thieves is permissible in Spokane County.