Memorial for car theft suspect inspires hateful messages



Posted on March 27, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 27 at 6:42 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A memorial for a car thief shot and killed by the vehicle’s owner is creating controversy.

Police say Brendon T. Kaluza-Graham stole Gail Gerlach’s SUV. Gerlach admits to shooting him when he thought the suspect threatened him with a weapon.

The memorial was put up Monday by Kaluza-Graham’s uncle. In the short time since then, hateful messages for both the burglary suspect and his shooter have filled the space.

Neighbors are now worried someone will put those threats into action.

“That’s a threat toward the gun owner. Obviously they’re going to retaliate, especially since they know where the person lives who fired the shot,” neighbor Barbra Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez fears the pen lines scribbled on the memorial will bleed out into the streets.

“They should be [afraid]. They need to realize where they are. It can be bad down there,” she said.

The suspect’s uncle Pat says Brandon wouldn’t want all this hate flying back and forth. He wants everyone to focus on grieving, not getting even.

“It’s horrible. Society is cruel,” Pat Kaluza said.

Spokane police say they are aware of the threats but do not believe any of them are credible. Their patrols are operating as normal in the area.