A 20-year-old Black Lives Matter supporter who happened to be biracial got into a heated discussion on Facebook – well-known for being the perfect venue for civil debate (sarcasm) – and ended up coming to the officer’s house and breaking in. The cop shot him, and the man was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The social media argument regarded Black Lives Matter, and Tyler Gebhard ended his discussion by threatening the cop, his family, and “uninvolved members of the community.”
Gebhard had befriended the cop at a local church. But following their online disagreement, Gebhard made his way over to the cop’s Lakeshire, Missouri house. When the cop’s wife refused to let him in through the front door, Gebhard grabbed a 50-pound concrete planter and threw it through the back window and came in the house. The wife and their two kids – a toddler and an infant – tried to escape through a bedroom window, while the off-duty cop confronted the intruder.
“Get down, get down, get down,” the cop was reportedly heard saying as he shot several rounds at Gebhard. The man was hit twice in the chest. He later died at the hospital.
According to Gebhard’s family, he suffered from mental problems such as bi-polar disorder, and according to his uncle, was a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, albeit not an active participant. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:
His Facebook page contains numerous posts about police shootings of black men and the deaths of five officers in Dallas at the hands of a gunman targeting white officers. Some devolve into heated arguments and warnings of a “race war.” Some posts are conciliatory, calling for black and white people to come together. One shows an image of a candle burning for the fallen Dallas officers.
But an online disagreement over the issues brought Gebhard to the Lakeshire home shortly before 6 p.m.
The St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters: “I don’t think the officer had a choice – I honestly don’t,” adding that this was “a very difficult position to be in.”
It was indeed a very difficult position to be in. These two had befriended each other at a local church. But Gebhard’s behavior and actions left the officer no choice but to shoot him to protect his family.