May 29th, 2013 11:57 PM
I think I might have been "approched"... what do you think?
I recently moved to Utah from Virginia but this incident occurred in Virginia about 2 months ago.
I was driving my Ford SUV with my 5 month old daughter in the back seat. My carry gun that day was a Taurus TCP .380 in my satchel. (I normally carry a G19 but that particular day called for some very deep concealment). I pulled in to a Subway parking lot for lunch and sat there for a few minutes waiting for a really good song to finish on the radio before going inside.
While I was sitting there, I did a quick scan of the area to see if anyone was nearby. I saw a man walking towards Subway from the gas station across the street. This man "just didn't look quite right" as he was dressed in black jeans, black shirt, black trench coat, black sun glasses, blag do-rag/bandana thing, and a black shoulder bag. Bear in mind, it was a 95 degree Virginia summer day (lots of humidity) so I thought it was a bit weird for him to be dressed this way.
I didn't want to take my satchel in with me since I'd have to carry the car seat/baby anyway so I slid my pistol into my pocket and left my hand on it for some reason (I don't normally sit in the car with a gun in my hand) Anyway, I'm glad I did since I looked up and saw the guy dressed in black standing right next to my driver side window. My window was cracked and he asked me what was all over my side-view mirror (a bird had used my car as a toilet the night before). I immediately hit the power locks on my door and told him it was just bird crap.
He then REACHED INSIDE HIS BAG while saying "I've got something that will help with that". I thought to myself, Holy crap, I may have to shoot this guy. What does he pull out of the bag? A window scrubber that he used to wash my mirror off with and then reached back in the bag and pulled out a squeegee to clean the soap off my mirror. After that he just walked away. I don't know what he was really up to.
He never asked for money, he just said he wanted to clean my mirror. He didn't even try to wash my windshield which I was expecting he would. The whole thing just felt so weird and when I told my wife about it later she was totally perplexed. We reenacted the scenario later and from the angle that the guy was standing (she pretended to be him) she could see that I had my gun in my hand and we still wonder if he saw it and was deterred.
Ok, lessons learned:
1. He got way too close without my realizing it. After seeing him at first, I should have kept him in a line of sight until I no longer had any "spidey tingles"
2. ALWAYS have your gun with you whenever legal to do so. Also have it accessible... I believe the Lord was watching out for me that day and prompted me to move my gun from my bag to my pocket. I never could have gotten to it in time if this guy had actually tried something.
1. Have any of you seen/heard of anyone doing something like this? Looking back even now this was such a strange experience.
2. Would I have been justified in drawing on this guy when his hand went into his bag? Bear in mind that I had my baby girl in the back seat. Obviously I didn't draw but I was as close as I've ever been.
3. Any other suggestions you have for me would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance, and stay safe everyone!!
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body; but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting: Hot Damn! What a Ride!
May 30th, 2013 12:03 AM
I'm sorry but the mental picture I got is pretty comical, almost like a Steamboat Willie cartoon. That definitely would have left me feeling quite as well.
My only somewhat rational guess is that he's a traveling salesman who sells cleaning supplies. As for the get-up, I have no idea why any sane person would be wearing all that on a summer day in these parts.
May 30th, 2013 12:07 AM
I can understand the adrenaline rush but as far as this guy possibly wanting to do some harm, I don't think so. You hear all the time of situations where the BG breaks into a home and the home owner tells him multiple times they are armed yet they still push through. I agree to have your weapon ready at a moments notice but I don't believe this scenario was one to go any further. The moment I started reading this I thought " he probobly wanted to wash your window". Obviously there is a possibility that he had bad intentions and after seeing your firearm decided to not go any further but I don't believe so.good job on the situational awareness! Non the less... Carry always and keep you SA up!!!
May 30th, 2013 12:11 AM
I'm glad you didn't draw your .380 and shoot that nut. Could have led to some embarrassing questions, especially since he only had a spray bottle. Did you report it to the police? If he did see it like your wife did, he could have reported you and caused you some grief.
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May 30th, 2013 12:12 AM
Glad everyone is ok. We had someone in Arkansas carrying a spray bottle doing some fishy stuff. My parents' neighbor told them a guy with a spray bottle was at their front door around midnight one night. Could've been nothing, but I'd rather know I scared of a questionable guy than find out I was unprepared for something bad.
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May 30th, 2013 12:16 AM
Once in a while you meet a very weird, maybe even a tad mental, but very nice person.
" It is sad governments are chief'ed by the double tongues." quote Ten Bears Movie Outlaw Josie Wales
May 30th, 2013 01:02 AM
You most definitely would not have been justified drawing on this odd fellow.
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May 30th, 2013 01:20 AM
No harm, no foul...sitting in a parking lot makes it kind of hard to keep someone from walking up on your car.
I'm not sure that you could have done anything different. SA was active, you're OK...no problem here.
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May 30th, 2013 01:41 AM
I'd say lesson 3: just because someone's acting funny doesn't mean they're up to something. If everybody who does something strange and unsettling got shot for it, I'd have a much smaller circle of friends.
Don't get me wrong, I think you were properly wary, did exactly the right things, and took away the right lessons. Well done. Just saying don't get jumpy.
May 30th, 2013 02:02 AM
Obviously you had a recent close encounter with the black mirror viper. And you got a friendly mirror vipe.
Americans understood the right of self-preservation as permitting a citizen to repel force by force
when the intervention of society... may be too late to prevent an injury.
-Blackstone’s Commentaries 145–146, n. 42 (1803) in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)
May 30th, 2013 02:07 AM
At that point, I might have been inclined to leave the truck to beat his (redacted = no points), but, with the kid there, that levels it. Next time, when in doubt, just put it in 'D' then push the gas, then 'R' and again push the gas, and of course while steering for positive effects on target.
Repeate the above until the threat is nullified. Just sayin.......... As I teach my spouse.......... Replacing a vehicle, as a trade off, is very inexpensive to a loss of a friendly life = her truck. I told her to trash the truck to nullify the attacker. She agrees.
Note: Always when in traffic and at a stop, leave enough clearance in front of your vehicle to stear clear and exit. To heck with the guy behind you. If you need to hit them (politely) to bump out of a BG situation, do so. You can still drive with major damage to the back end, but not the front.
Always remember that you do not need to unholster when you are in command of a multi-thousand pound deadly weapon. Sheet metal can be repaired. A life cannot be regained. Surviving in a 'legal' situation is the way to go.
If you ever get the chance to go to Langely to the 'Driving School' - I highly recommed it. You will learn stuff that will blow your mind!
May 30th, 2013 04:30 AM
Yes, you were approached.
But, was that person anything other than what he ended up appearing to be, a doo-wiping good sam? Who's to say.
Perhaps he was interviewing you for chinks in the armor, but realized you were instantly on-guard and behind locked doors once he appeared, then thought better of it. No real way of knowing, beyond no threat ever really materializing beyond his proximity.
- Don't ever just be sitting around in a parking lot. If you are going to do that, keep aware of your surroundings.
- If you are going to be there, do so with the door locks locked and windows up. Sunroofs are a beautiful thing.
- If you've got your kids with you, be on extra-high alert for potential intruders who could mess up your day, as you've got loved ones who need you standing and capable in order to protect them against threats. Doesn't do you any good if you're cold-cocked upside the head before you even know it. It's frighteningly simple to get carjacked, and you don't want that to occur while your kids are in the car and out of your reach.
- Possibly consider heading through the parking lot once, prior to even looking for a parking spot, to specifically check out the folks in the area, whether there are loiterers or weirdos around, etc. On the few occasions I've done this and found a seedy environment that appeared a little threatening, I just went elsewhere. Made much more sense. If you've got your kids in tow, it might well be the best option, if you spot likely trouble.
- If you're able, park as close to the entryway as possible, when out shopping with kids. That'll improve your odds for remaining in plain view at all times, within hailing distance of help.
- Monitor weird-looking folks or loiterers, particularly groups of loiterers, trying hard to not lose sight of them. This guy's attentiveness and dress was all wrong for the day, you're correct. Bad juju, to have ignored him to the point of allowing him to get right there.
- Don't allow weird-looking/acting/sounding folks to approach to arms-length distance without verbal challenge/warning to keep their distance. Use your "command" voice, backing up, placing hand in pre-draw (on the grip) mode, etc, as needed.
- Have a car with key-fob alarming/locking ability. Ideally, in such a situation, a key-fob that has a button for "panic" alarm can be very useful. Kid's in the car, locked and somewhat protected, and your alarm is now blaring to get everyone's attention. Better than the alternative, had this turned into a bad scene.
- Mindset, determination, demeanor -- each of these can contribute to showing an incoming assailant you're aware, unafraid and prepared. Often, usually I'd say, this is sufficient for any of these sorts to be warned off, often without you even realizing there was a threat.
- And keep in mind: that you simply don't want a person up close doesn't itself equate to an up-close person being a threat. As others have suggested, drawing down on such a person in the scenario you described would have been unjustifiable. But keeping that person outside arms reach would have been in your best interests and within the bounds of reasonableness to require of the other person.
- Had that person continued approaching and reaching into the bag despite your clear, firm warnings, then it might quickly have gotten to the point of justifying drawing (or at least making the move and placing your hand firmly on the grip in clear warning of intent to draw if needed).
Definitely know your state statutes cold, both the arms-related laws as well as the use-of-force ones. Know what your state disallows you to do, what threat levels are justifiable for taking active steps to protect yourself, whether it distinguishes between handling/drawing and actually firing, etc. You'll need to determine where your dividing lines are, between risk and impending threat, threat and dire threat. You don't want to get it wrong ... either legally or practically. Your kids depend on your surviving it, both ways.
IIRC, a member here, TN_Mike, posted about a situation at a gas station in which he'd been closely approached by an assailant and found it necessary to draw. If you search around, a bit, you should find that posting. That's one example of a situation roughly similar, but one in which the defender believed the threat was markedly higher than what you describe, showing one way to deal with things if they cross the line of "threat." Two situations: I think I got cased at the gas station, and I called the guy on it. ; and I had to draw on someone today .
Last edited by ccw9mm; May 30th, 2013 at 06:56 AM.
Reason: grammar, spelling
Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
self defense (A.O.J.).
How does disarming
the number of victims?
Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos)
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May 30th, 2013 05:55 AM
Nice post ccw9mm I was thinking the same thing. I read and study every crime report I can find like this. You often see criminals revisit the victim more than once to build up nerve when they are young or unsure of themselves. They almost test the waters and your boundaries. This sounds hands down like an interview that was combined with positioning and you stopped the process of the crime by your confidence, body language or something. I've been muzzle to muzzle with 2 bad guys hell bent on mugging my wife and I. To this day I believe the look on my face must have been worth 1000 words to them. They had already repositioned on us, so I knew the crap was going down for sure but I was absolutely milliseconds from releasing head shots on both of these arse holes when the look on their face told me the story and they backed off. Never underestimate body language and looks. I can't speak for your situation but when your spidey senses are going off like that you need to listen. Far too many urban idiots with peace, love and diversity on their mind are walking around like flowers waiting to be plucked. In my mind a bag means GUN, KNIFE, HAMMER. Sounds like you learned something.
May 30th, 2013 07:15 AM
Had someone walk past my car and vomit on the ground just in front of it yesterday in a Mobil gas station lot. Guess it was a weird day for parking lots.
Good thing you didn't shoot him with that 380. I just would have made him mad...
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
- Roy Batty
May 30th, 2013 07:43 AM
To me, the strangest bit about your uninvited encounter is that it appears he was attracted to your vehicle by the bird poop on your mirror.
But the black-garbed stranger's move to clean your mirror would have also caught me off guard--not something that a normal person would expect to happen.
After reading all of the OP post, I find myself grateful that my car does not automatically unlock its doors when I stop and park my car. For those of you who do have such an unwanted option, I wonder if there is a way to disable that feature.
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