Situation over the past weekend (was I wrong?)

This is a discussion on Situation over the past weekend (was I wrong?) within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Thanks for all the responses, guess I posted right at the lunch-break! It's a long time LEO friend who told me to be ready to ...

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Thread: Situation over the past weekend (was I wrong?)

  1. #16
    Member Array novcdtshotz's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses, guess I posted right at the lunch-break!

    It's a long time LEO friend who told me to be ready to be charged; I was called by the police dept. and told to report to the station later this week for "follow up," that's where he got the "watch your butt on this one" feeling. He gave me the name of a good attorney he's dealt with personally, and I've already consulted. I'll be retaining him if this goes badly.

    He says he's seen a lot of stupid stuff, and more than once has seen the "victim" turned into the accused. His argument is a worst-case one (which I appreciate, because I'd rather be prepared than caught off guard). He thinks that if the guy gets a good attorney, he could spin me gripping my pistol as "threatening intent," and that I was "holding this person against their will with a deadly weapon."

    I have some friends in the PD here, and they're a mixed bag of opinions. Some are sure that nothing will come back at me, but another is of the "be prepared for the worst, I've seen it happen" mentality.

    I work in the defense community, so a lot of my co-workers are former military / LEO. Their opinions have been everything from "walk away and call the cops" to "I'da shot his butt on the spot."

    The screwdriver being construed as a weapon is a good point, and you're right, I had no idea whether this guy was armed beyond that or not.

    I didn't feel I could walk away and call the cops because as soon as he got her started, all bets were off and he'd have been gone.

    I do feel like I was simply protecting my self / property, and I feel that I did so in a completely reasonable way.

    Thanks again for everyone chipping in, I really do appreciate getting the input (even if it is an internet forum!).

    EDIT - I never draw / aim unless I intend to kill; if I point my weapon at it, it's probably going to find a new home on a cold metal slab (it's a military hold-over I guess); like I said, all he had to do was walk and I probably would have let him go. I've never once drawn my weapon as a civilian.

    My hand was on my hip for my own safety (I felt anyway). Like I said, I was pretty shaken, the guy was bigger than me, probably had me be 100lbs+ and 3".

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  3. #17
    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j.a.magnum View Post
    It's interesting that he decided to stick around. As I've thought about scenarios like this, I've come to the conclusion that I would have no problem interrupting a crime in progress. But I don't think I would attempt to hold or take someone into custody. I would make it clear that I was calling the authorities. But since I'm not going to actually shoot someone in the back as they run away, I won't attempt to detain. I guess if they are dumb enough to stick around, that's their problem.
    Yeah..That's where I am with it.

  4. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by novcdtshotz View Post
    howdy all,

    I'm new to the board here (registered to ask this question actually).

    I had a bit of a situation this weekend while carrying, and I was hoping to get some input as reactions have been mixed amongst my co-workers about "what I did."

    The scenario: (Northern Virginia Area)

    I ride a motorcycle 24/7, and don't own another vehicle. On Saturday, I had ridden to the local shopping center to run some errands. I parked my bike in the middle of the parking lot (I was running errands on both sides of the lot, I figured it would be "closest" to wherever I ended). I ran into the grocery store and picked up a few things, then across the lot to drop off some drycleaning.

    When I came out of the drycleaners and started walking back to my bike (the lot was packed btw, I couldn't even see the motorcycle until I was almost to my parking spot), as I get closer, I notice that someone is sitting on my bike. I'm about 20ft away from my bike now, behind and to the left, and I'm watching some dude sit on my bike with a screwdriver and other small instrument trying to hotwire my ignition.

    I said "nice bike" to the guy and he about jumped out of his skin; he was late 30's ish, and bigger than I, and was obvioulsy trying to steal my motorcycle.

    I am a licensed CCW holder, and carry everywhere I go. I was carrying a full size Star Mod30m @ 4 O'clock in a "cowboy" style holster, and brushed the side of my jacket back and rested my palm on the grip of my pistol (at that point, the guy knew I was armed). I told the guy to get off my bike (which he did), then told him to sit on the curb nearby (while I called the cops). I never drew on him, never made any motion to unsecure my firearm, but kept my hand on the grip the entire time (in actuallity I was scared [Edited] of this guy). The cops arrived and placed him under arrest, we'd drawn a bit of a crowd at that point and two "witnesses" came forward to support my statement. I was not disarmed, nor asked to show my permit, the police on-scene were amazingly polite, and after about 30 minutes I was on my way home.

    I'm now being told that it's entirely possible that I'll be charged with brandishing a firearm, and kidnapping with a firearm. I did nothing more than brush my jacket back, and tell the man to sit on the curb until the police arrived. I never said anything like "I'll shoot you" or any other phrase implying I would use force. (In fact, if he'd gotten up and walked off, I would probably have let him, what else could I have done?).

    Am I serioulsy going to go to jail for this? I have no criminal record, an honorable military discharge from active duty and the NG, and work in the defense community. A record like this will absolutely kill my career. I've sought out legal counsel, but I'd like some input from the guys / gals here.

    Was I in the wrong? What should I have done instead?

    Thank you everyone, I appreciate the input.
    § 18.2-282. Pointing, holding, or brandishing firearm, air or gas operated weapon or object similar in appearance; penalty.

    A. It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense. Persons violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation occurs upon any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds or upon public property within 1,000 feet of such school property, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.
    By virtue of VA law you are guilty of brandishing a weapon. You were not acting in self defense, you were protecting personal property. Whether you will be charged or not is totally up to the decision of the DA there in Fairfax Co.

    Webster definition of brandish:

    Main Entry: 1bran·dish
    Pronunciation: \ˈbran-dish\
    Function: transitive verb
    Etymology: Middle English braundisshen, from Anglo-French brandiss-, stem of brandir, from brant, braund sword, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English brand
    Date: 14th century
    1 : to shake or wave (as a weapon) menacingly
    2 : to exhibit in an ostentatious or aggressive manner
    Last edited by archer51; March 9th, 2009 at 02:10 PM. Reason: added info

  5. #19
    Member Array novcdtshotz's Avatar
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    I read the same statute, and have been told it may go either way.

    Whatever happens I'm ready to accept the consequences, obviously I hope that things turn out, but whatever is next is out of my hands.

  6. #20
    Member Array FireAir7215's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    What an amazing story. You did a good job! BG has his screwdriver which is deadly weapon. Welcome to DC!

  7. #21
    Member Array novcdtshotz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireAir7215 View Post
    What an amazing story. You did a good job! BG has his screwdriver which is deadly weapon. Welcome to DC!
    Based on that statute .. it might be a short stay!

  8. #22
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    1st off, IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer, just in case you hadn't figured out the acronym already).

    simply protecting my property
    Do NOT say this again, EVER. You were, upon seeing the screwdriver and his size/musculature, fearing for your safety. I say this, because, here in GA, where I *do* know the laws, property defense is ABSOLUTELY NOT an affirmative defense for shooting someone. I would assume (IANAL) that VA laws could be similar. But when your safety is at issue, it's another matter.

    Brandishing/kidnapping? IANAL, but I'd doubt either, as your gun was holstered - not being held or pointed. You were simply prepared to defend yourself, should he have attacked. You didn't threaten or insinuate you'd shoot if he left.

    VERY GOOD that you've proactively contacted an attorney. Do NOT have ANY conversation with the police concerning the event (other than "thanks for letting me know everything's fine) without him/her present.

    Welcome to the forum. Keep that 2 wheeler upright (I didn't many years ago). Join your state's grassroots carry org: Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL) KNOW YOUR STATE'S LAWS. Know AIFTG (Am I Free To Go). Keep safe.

  9. #23
    Member Array novcdtshotz's Avatar
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    *sigh ... shoulda just come up behind him and clocked him with my helmet ... </sarcasm>

  10. #24
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    Never never ever ever talk to the cops with-out a lawyer


  11. #25
    Member Array novcdtshotz's Avatar
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    I've been told to report on Thursday at 5pm. Any and all input before then will be appreciated...

  12. #26
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    Howdy and welcome to what I consider the best defensive carry site on the web.

    I'm not a lawyer, and I don't play one on TV. My advice to you is, take a lawyer with you to the Police Station when you are "clearing things up". That is a common tactic used by detectives to get someone to come in and be arrested and saves having to go out and find the person to arrest them.

    Just my $0.02 as a current LEO. Don't let the RN after Biker confuse you. Advise is free, and worth what you pay for it.

    Biker

  13. #27
    Member Array Chiller2's Avatar
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    I would take my lawyer with me I would also have someone ready and prepared to bail me out.Also are you being told to report or asked to come down to give a statement. If asked I would talk to my lawyer and try to see if they will do it at his office if not that raises a BIG red flag.

  14. #28
    VIP Member Array goldshellback's Avatar
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    Sounds very much like brandishing to me......but in the context in which it happened....could go either way.

    What'sthe current 'attitude' towards gun owners in your county and you DA's record?
    "Just getting a concealed carry permit means you haven't commited a crime yet. CCP holders commit crimes." Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, quoted on Fox & Friends, 8 Jul, 2008

    (Sometimes) "a fight avioded is a fight won." ... claude clay

  15. #29
    Member Array novcdtshotz's Avatar
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    It's Virginia. 1st off, it's an open-carry state. I got the CCW permit simply so I could walk around without getting stared at / "made" everywhere I went.

    AFAICT, the attitude is very positive towards citizen firearm ownership. As I said, this was the nicest encounter I've ever had with a LEO.

    I'll be looking into the DA's record later today.

    The call I got at lunch was from a detective asking me to come down for "follow-up" on my report; he didn't say anything really beyond that. It wasn't a request, but it didn't seem like a demand. It was more of a

    "We need you down here to follow-up on some action from Saturday, can you be here Thursday at 5pm?"
    "Yes, I should be able to manage that."
    "OK, see you then."

    I'm taking the lawyer with me, JIC. Also, the LEO I dealt with at the scene gave me his card and told me to call if I needed anything; should I shoot him a call and see if he's on duty that day?

  16. #30
    Senior Member Array KenInColo's Avatar
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    I'm Not A Lawyer Either But...

    VA is an Open Carry state right? What is wrong with simply revealing your gun? You did not draw it.

    +1 to the poster who said to take your lawyer down to the station house w/you on Thursday.

    I think you handled it perfectly, especially not having to draw your gun.

    Not criticizing here, but I probably would have drawn mine (I probably wouldn't have felt as safe as you were w/someone 100 lbs & 3" taller & armed w/a deadly weapon (the screw driver)).

    Please let us know how Thursday goes.

    Best of luck.
    An armed populace are called citizens.
    An unarmed populace are called subjects.

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