Last updated: 5 months ago
Brogan said Gebhard and the police officer he befriended at a local church had clashed recently on Facebook over his nephew's support of Black Lives Matter.
Gebhard, who was biracial, supported the cause but was not an active participant in the protest movement, the uncle said.
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.
Belmar said Gebhard tossed the planter through the back window after being rebuffed by the officer's wife at the front door. She hid with other family members, including a toddler and an infant, as the off-duty officer went to check on the disturbance.
Members of the family in the bedroom said they heard the officer tell the intruder to “get down, get down, get down,” and then heard several shots fired, Belmar said.
Gebhard was shot twice in the chest. He was pronounced dead at St. Anthony’s Hospital.
The officer is a three-year veteran of the department who is now on administrative leave, Belmar said.
Gebhard lived in the 7900 block of Navajoe Street in the Affton area.
Brogan said the circumstances of his nephew's death are all the more painful because several members of Gebhard's extended family are in law enforcement.
"We are sick for both families because it was senseless," Brogan said. "It was a senseless death."
County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch’s office concluded that the off-duty St. Louis County police officer acted in self-defense.