SPOKANE, Wash – A day after her grandson, Brendon Kaluza-Graham, 25, was shot and killed by the owner of a car police say he was trying to steal, Ann Kaluza says he was a wonderful grandson, and not a violent person.
Tuesday, she sorted through pictures of her grandson when he was a little boy, telling KHQ "every time he called me he always said ‘I love you, Grandma.'"
Kaluza says she practically raised the boy, after he was born to 16-year-old parents. The grandparents on both sides became very involved in raising him, and became very close.
Kaluza last saw her grandson Sunday night – the night before he was killed – when he came over for dinner and raked her pine needles. She says it was his dream to own a landscaping business, and was trying to get his life back on track.
"Just Sunday I gave him two leads on landscaping jobs," she said, adding that she was going to take Kaluza-Graham and his little brother to get their drivers licenses – but never got the chance.
His license was revoked when he spent a year in jail on charges of vehicle theft, possessing drugs and assaulting a police officer. He was just released in January, and was applying for jobs. Before that, he'd been convicted four times for taking a vehicle without permission.
Kaluza admits her grandson made a few mistakes the last few years, but says he didn't deserve to die.
Police say Kaluza-Graham had just jumped into a running SUV and was driving away when the owner of the SUV fired one shot. The medical examiner reported the shot hit him in the head, and ruled his death a homicide.
"To me, it was an execution, he was driving away and he was shot in the back of the head," she said. "It's one thing to have someone you love taken from you accidentally, but to be shot needlessly? Our thought is, if he just wanted his car back, why didn't he shoot for the tire?"
Police have not identified the man who shot and killed Kaluza-Graham, and a sign on his front door Tuesday read:
"We appreciate your desire for information. However, we have been advised not to speak to anyone about the incident at this time. Once everything is settled, we will be more than happy to give the press a statement. Thank you for your understanding."
Police say the man who pulled the trigger has been cooperative with their investigation, and he has not been charged with any crime. The prosecutor will decide if charges should be filed, based on witness testimony and evidence recovered at the scene.
"I'd like it all undone, I'd like my grandson back," Kaluza said tearfully. "I don't wish ill will on people, but this gun violence has to stop."
Tuesday, a memorial was set up at the scene where Kaluza-Graham died, and a number of people stopped by to sign it.