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Spokane Co. Medical Examiner Identifies Person Trying To Steal Car Shot And Killed By Owner

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PRESS RELEASE FROM SPOKANE COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER:

SPOKANE COUNTY, March 26, 2013 – The Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed the identity of the man who died on March 25 on East Sharp in Spokane, WA as 25-year-old Brendon T. Kaluza-Graham. He died from a gunshot wound to the head.

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SPOKANE, Wash. - The use of force involved in Monday's deadly shooting of a car thief has yet to be determined, and depends on a number of factors.

"People do have the right to defend their property, but it has to be reasonable use of force while you're defending that property," said Lt. Mark Griffiths. "So that will be the question that will be the prosecutors job to decide."

Monday, investigators interviewed the man who shot the car thief, and police say he is cooperating with them.  They also spoke with other witnesses, and are comparing those statements to evidence found at the crime scene, which spread across three blocks.  That information will all be forwarded to the prosecutor's office to determine if the car owner will face any charges.

Washington State law does say that a person can use deadly force to prevent someone from committing a felony against his or her person, but when it comes to property, it's a little murky.

Detectives believe the homeowner fired a shot through the back window of the SUV while the suspect was driving away.  However, one big question is whether the suspect was armed when he took off in the homeowner's SUV moments before he was shot and killed.  Police say the crashed SUV has been impounded, and will be processed for evidence and any weapon on Tuesday.

"I thought I was dreaming because I heard gunshots, and then after that I heard the sirens," neighbor Debra Ross told KHQ.

After the suspect was shot, he still managed to drive two blocks before crashing into a fence, tree and garage.  An ambulance was called out, but there was nothing medics could do.  The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, and the damaged garage had to be torn down Monday afternoon for safety reasons.

Richard McKinley owns the garage the suspect crashed into, and is lucky he's okay.  He's mostly deaf, and his bedroom is just a few feet away from the garage.  He didn't hear the crash, but could see it from his bedroom window.

"That woke me up pretty good," McKinley told KHQ.  "I'm okay and the dog's okay, and the guy won't be stealing any more cars."

McKinley's daughter, Robin Woodard, rushed in from the Spokane Valley area to make sure her father was okay after she heard what happened.

"It's just nerve-racking and upsetting," she said.  "I was receiving lots of texts that something was going on here, I'm just glad it wasn't him.  Everything can be replaced, I don't care about anything, I'm just glad he's okay."

No charges have been filed, and the investigation is ongoing.

 

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