Victim identified after homeowner opens fire on suspected car thief

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by WHITNEY WARD, HONORA SWANSON & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on March 25, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 11:36 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. - Police are still investigating a deadly shooting near Lee and Mission Monday. A man told officers that he shot an armed man stealing his SUV near the 1400 block of N. Lee.  The car was found just a few blocks away, crashed into a garage, with a dead man inside.

Early Tuesday, the Spokane Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim as Brendon T. Kaluza-Graham, 25. The Medical Examiner confirmed on Tuesday that Kaluza-Graham died from a gunshot wound to the head.

His body was removed from the scene as of Monday afternoon according to investigators. Officers also said that they interviewed the admitted shooter.

The investigation began when a homeowner called 911 around 8:00 a.m. The homeowner stated that their vehicle has just been stolen according to police. The caller also said that they had fired one shot at the car thief suspect. 

Authorities attempted to resuscitate Kaluza-Graham.  However, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Neighbors say they woke up to a very loud commotion that morning.

"I thought it was the neighbor pulling out his garbage can and I thought 'boy, he's sure making a lot more noise than normal,'" said neighbor Collen Sasser.

Authorities say it doesn't appear the suspected thief entered the victim's home and it's unclear if the suspect was armed at the time of the theft.  Investigators said the vehicle will not be processed for evidence until Tuesday when they have a search warrant.

Police did not release the name of the person who fired the weapon. Major Crimes will forward the case to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office once their investigation is complete.

A local attorney said the homeowner's use of deadly force could have him facing charges.  Washington State law is clear about when a person can use deadly force.  Attorneys said a person cannot fire a gun at anyone unless their life is in immediate danger.  The person almost always must be in their home, not outside, as well.  Experts said if the homeowner faces charges, they could be as severe as second degree murder.  However, the city prosecutor will make the final decision.

Kaluza-Graham had an extensive criminal history.  It dates back to 2008, when he was charged two times for taking a vehicle without permission.  He was charged again in 2009 for taking a vehicle without permission.  Then in 2012, he faced yet another charge for taking a vehicle without permission.  That year, he was also charged with assault in the 3rd degree of a law enforcement officer, controlled substance possession which included cocaine, meth, and marijuana.  He also faced charged for obstructing a law enforcement officer and using a vehicle theft tool.

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