Incident that didn't develop - Approached in Walmart parking lot after dark

Incident that didn't develop - Approached in Walmart parking lot after dark

This is a discussion on Incident that didn't develop - Approached in Walmart parking lot after dark within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've been thinking about this event after the fact for almost 4 months now, and I figured I'd share my experience and my thoughts. The ...

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Thread: Incident that didn't develop - Approached in Walmart parking lot after dark

  1. #1
    Member Array ducatirider's Avatar
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    Incident that didn't develop - Approached in Walmart parking lot after dark

    I've been thinking about this event after the fact for almost 4 months now, and I figured I'd share my experience and my thoughts.

    The day before this past New Year's Eve, my girlfriend and I were in Williamsport, PA spending the weekend at my family's other home. We were in Montoursville playing pool (Monoski's - truly a great place), and afterwards we stopped by Walmart in hopes of picking up a $5 DVD of some old movie to pass the evening. It was about 10:00 PM, or some time late enough that I thought the place would be closed (not sure of their hours).

    I parked in a well-lit area that was distant from anything providing concealment or cover for anyone who would try to harm me. The nearest car was over 50 feet away. The parking lot was deserted except around the entrance. We were on my motorcycle, both in full winter body armor. I had my Glock 27 in my right thigh pocket. It was oriented such that I could quickly draw it one-handed.

    When checking out, I noticed a guy in the checkout area to our left. He wasn't checking out, just standing there. At the time I figured he was looking at magazines. The only real reason he garnered my attention was because he was the only one in the store who was taller than me. I'm 6'5" and 200, this guy was like 6'7" and 250. I wasn't alarmed, still condition Yellow. Point is that he was unique.

    When my girlfriend and I left the cashier, he also moved on. My girlfriend, however, dropped a glove or something that made her stop and walk back. At that time he walked back to the magazine rack and started looking around again. I didn't directly look at him, but I went to condition Orange. Walking out to the lot, he was about 30 feet behind us and quite clearly following us. As soon as we exited the building, I noticed there was a 4-door black pick-up parked right next to the bike. There was no reason to park directly next to my bike as the lot was open, and my bike was a distance from the entrance.

    Both my bike and his truck were parked facing North. My bike was on the passenger side (to the East). As I near the truck I notice that there were two people in the truck. One in front passenger side, one in the back passenger side. At this point I'm not 'spooked,' just alert and questioning if this was a threat.

    He gets in the truck (driver's side, front), so I start gearing up. He then gets out of the truck and walks around the back of the truck and towards us. What alarms me at this point is that he has just walked out of his way to my girlfriend's back, and to where my back was.

    When he is less than 5 feet from my girlfriend, he puts his hand inside his jacket. At that point I take my left arm and put it in front of my girlfriend so she can't walk into a developing line of fire. I then stare him in the eye (the first time I had) and put my right hand into my thigh pocket and grip my Glock. I'm a really nice guy, but I have crazy-eyes. There wasn't a sign of fear or apprehension in them.

    I did not draw. He had no confirmation that I had a weapon. He then gave me an angry look and backed away. He did not turn and walk, he walked backward. He kept staring at me as he walked around the truck. He then drove off. We never exchanged words. I made sure that I didn't tunnel-vision onto him -- I looked at each passenger. They were both looking directly at me. Luckily I was at a favorable angle such that only the one in the back could have shot at me. (Still not ideal, I will freely admit.) I did not like this position, but my body language definitely sent the message that I wasn't easy pray.

    They then drove off. My girlfriend asked me, "What just happened?" I told her we were going to get out of there and de-brief back at my place. I left in a different direction.

    After action thoughts:

    I have zero doubt that these men meant us harm. I am not sure what they would have wanted, but I do not doubt their negative intentions. Proof from: 1) where they parked 2) us being followed, and the guy pausing when my girlfriend unexpectedly slowed us down 3) the driver walking around the vehicle to our backsides 4) the actions of the driver when we locked eyes 5) the expressions of the passengers.

    My girlfriend agrees with my analysis 100%. She was pro-carry before, now she is even more so.

    I think in retrospect I should have just walked back into the store and not kept going towards my bike. That was dumb. Like seriously dumb.

    I also think that I should have tried to warn my girlfriend regarding the developing situation. She had her ear-buds in, but I still should have tried to inform her.

    So: Any thoughts from the masses?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Inspector71's Avatar
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    Based on your description I agree that this guy was up to no good. Too many tell tell signs here. Since the two of you never exchanged words his motivation will remain a mystery. Far too many things to speculate about here. Glad everything worked out for you and your GF.
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    VIP Member Array Yoda's Avatar
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    Seems you did good,

    I think a lot of Walmarts have security cameras in parking lot.
    Yoda, I am, yes.

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    mkh
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    Distinguished Member Array mkh's Avatar
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    Sounds like your assessment was spot on. You seemed to have handled it well.
    One question. Did you call the police? Alerting them may have prevented othe incidents out of that bunch.

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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    i hate parking lots for the accidents that occur -usually low speed annoying minor body damage yet time consuming and--

    for the people whose movements at times are liken to crazy-ants; every which way and seemingly without purpose.

    so, like you, i keep a extra eye out --highten awarness. and times are that it is the right thing to do as others have been observing,
    looking for a mark. your actions upset his plan and he planely let you know it. that part is odd.
    usually 'they' slide away trying to look small and blend back in. but 6'7" doesn't blend easy so i guess he just let his mad show.

    anytime you can go back home undamaged and have dinner at your own table...its a win.

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    Ex Member Array MadMac's Avatar
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    I am trying to read between the lines here, but from what I can tell, it looks like you knew things looked shady before walking out to the parking lot. If I saw the truck next to my bike and had spied the big dude acting suspicious, I would have hustled back into the store and asked a cashier/manager/employee to call the police/security because I felt uncomfortable.

    No way would I have walked out into the lot with my GF/wife knowing I was outnumbered and the truck was right next to the bike. But you already posted that option.
    First Sgt and DC like this.

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    Member Array ducatirider's Avatar
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    No I didn't call the cops.

    I have only dialed 911 in my life (house across the street caught fire.)

    Truth be told I don't feel comfortable calling on a hunch. I wasn't really sure until I talked about it with her afterwards.

    I probably should have called - especially because they do have cameras. Not sure if they would catch a plate, but then again: I should have gotten a plate.

    Ya gotta understand, I'm an engineer, not a cop, my thoughts are related to survival, not prosecution.

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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    we all pick up on the finer points of carry & avoidance at different times--as our experiences accumulate.
    like you MadMac, i would have made a "ooops, forgot something" and returned to the stores inside.
    and the OP recognizes that now too.
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    Member Array ducatirider's Avatar
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    Yeah, like I said: Not turning around and going back into the store was dumb as ****.

    I just didn't think anyone would be so brazen -- obviously he would have been on camera in the store.

    I know Williamsport gets a lot of Philly bleed-off during the summer, but I had never felt uncomfortable before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ducatirider View Post
    Truth be told I don't feel comfortable calling on a hunch. .
    Just an FYI for you. If you have a hunch about something, there is something that doesn't seem right. Best to call and report it and let law enforcement follow up if they think it is worth following up on and investigating. You could be the one who allows them to catch a serial killer, etc. before someone else has to go through something. I've got three friends who are LEO (2 sergeants and 1 captain) who always say that it is better to report something that is nothing than to fail to report something which actually was something.
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    VIP Member Array First Sgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMac View Post
    I am trying to read between the lines here, but from what I can tell, it looks like you knew things looked shady before walking out to the parking lot. If I saw the truck next to my bike and had spied the big dude acting suspicious, I would have hustled back into the store and asked a cashier/manager/employee to call the police/security because I felt uncomfortable.

    No way would I have walked out into the lot with my GF/wife knowing I was outnumbered and the truck was right next to the bike. But you already posted that option.
    I guess there is a first time for everything!!! I gotta agree with...sigh...Mad Mac His reply is spot on...
    Sometimes in life you have to stand your ground. It's a hard lesson to learn and even most adults don't get it, but in the end only I can be responsible for my life. If faced with any type of adversity, only I can overcome it. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility is a long fruitless wait.

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    I am trying to think of ways you could have handled it better, and am coming up blank. An unarmed shift manager and cashier were going to provide no help whatsoever, and the police were minutes away. Any sign of retreat would likely have been viewed as vulnerability. Well-played.
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    Ex Member Array MadMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1956 View Post
    I am trying to think of ways you could have handled it better, and am coming up blank. An unarmed shift manager and cashier were going to provide no help whatsoever, and the police were minutes away. Any sign of retreat would likely have been viewed as vulnerability. Well-played.
    I think the point being made here is that the ne'er-do-wells would be far less likely to victimize you in the store with employees around than in the dark(er) parking lot with no witnesses. Even if it takes the cops minutes to come over, those would be minutes best spent in the well-lit store with lots of witnesses. Even though the lot may have a camera trained on it, the best it could do is help the cops catch the guy who whacked you and kidnapped your GF.

    As for the point about retreat, I don't get it. Viewed as a vulnerability? You can puff your chest out and go confront three large guys in parking lot, but I'll cool my heels in a safer place than a dark, empty parking lot. I'll wait whatever time it takes for the cops to roll up and ask them what they're up to.
    Bark'n, Kadelic, jace33 and 1 others like this.

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    Distinguished Member Array Chaplain Scott's Avatar
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    Ducatirider: We ignore that little voice whispering in the back of our heads at our own peril.

    Your choosing to post about it now, my guess here, is that it is still eating at you of how brazen they were and how naive you were regarding the fact that they might try something with you so openly. I think that this was a very good learning experience. (I had one like this also--it was quite a sobering wake-up call)--and it left me feeling really disturbed way down inside myself---like I had a look into a dark, ugly viscious part of the human world that I was not real familiar with--and the ugliness that I saw there was disturbing to my soul. Maybe I am projecting my experience onto you--but the tenor of your post feels similar to my own feelingsat the time. The differences here are that folks on this forum have seen that ugly reality, and rather than pretend its not there , we have chosen to be actively prepared to engage it and be the ones to walk away upright if it comes to that

    Just two more thoughts for you--get your GF to ditch the earbuds when in public and vulnerable; second thought, have a code-word for you and your GF to use--something that says in essence "Whoa, code RED, right NOW--PAY ATTENTION!!!!!!) My extended family has a code word that we all know.........
    Bark'n and mook012 like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMac View Post
    I think the point being made here is that the ne'er-do-wells would be far less likely to victimize you in the store with employees around than in the dark(er) parking lot with no witnesses. Even if it takes the cops minutes to come over, those would be minutes best spent in the well-lit store with lots of witnesses. Even though the lot may have a camera trained on it, the best it could do is help the cops catch the guy who whacked you and kidnapped your GF.
    We have different estimations of the criminal mind.
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