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Saturday, February 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Slain car thief’s father has his own legal troubles

The father of a Spokane man shot to death in March while trying to steal a car appeared in Superior Court on Thursday – accused of trying to steal a car.

Brian J. Kaluza was arrested in April after he tried to steal a marked Spokane Police Department patrol car, according to police reports. He was released on his own recognizance at that time, but violated his release conditions Tuesday when authorities say he committed a fourth-degree assault.

Kaluza’s son, 25-year-old Brendon T. Kaluza-Graham, was shot and killed by Gail Gerlach, 57, in March after Kaluza-Graham tried to steal Gerlach’s truck. Gerlach faces charges of first-degree manslaughter; his trial is scheduled to begin in December.

The auto theft charge against Kaluza began on April 14, three weeks after his son was shot. Kaluza showed up at the Public Safety Building shouting and banging on windows. Two officers, who were leaving the nearby Spokane County Jail, asked him what he was doing. Kaluza, 41, said he was visiting friends.

Kaluza’s car, meanwhile, was parked with its engine running and music blaring in the Juvenile Detention center parking lot, according to police reports.

Before police could ask Kaluza any further questions, he returned to his car and drove away, according to police reports. Police pursued, with Kaluza driving recklessly through downtown before stopping in a parking lot at Bernard Street and Main Avenue, according to police reports. Kaluza got out of his car, and when officers tried to stop him he opened the door to an idling patrol car and sat in the driver’s seat.

Police ordered Kaluza to get out of the car, but he refused, according to police reports. When officers tried to pull him out of the car, he fought back until police handcuffed him and placed him under arrest. No one was seriously injured during the struggle, though Kaluza had several scratches on his face.

Kaluza was charged with attempting to elude police and attempted theft of a motor vehicle, both felonies, after the April incident.

The fourth-degree assault charge, a misdemeanor, stemmed from an altercation in which Kaluza was accused of poking another man with a knife, according to court testimony Thursday. He is being held on a $7,500 bond.

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