Called the Police Last Night...
...because I think I was almost robbed.
It happened last night, while walking my dog. Our regular route takes us past an old tennis court, which is across the street from a soccer field. The Lackawanna Heritage Trail runs right along both. The area has zero lighting except what light emanates from houses, traffic, and the church on the corner. There's no real light until we cross the bridge, and come across the railroad crossing near South Washington Avenue. I always take a flashlight with me when I walk there at night, mostly because I don't want to fall and break something on those uneven sidewalks.
Like most dogs, my dog will react to something unseen before I do. He's got a beagle's nose with a Jack Russell's attentiveness, so almost nothing gets by him. As we approached the trail crossing, he immediately stiffened up, and pulled me in that direction. I figured it was a groundhog, or a cat, or some kids, but it made me pay attention.
That second or two of extra attentiveness paid off. Since I was already looking for something in the dark, the guy who jumped out from the shadows didn't catch me off guard. The sudden rustling noise made me drop back two steps, and my hand rested on the butt of my 1911. When this guy jumped out, he saw enough to see that he'd made a mistake. He kind of jerked around a little, cursed, and took off back down the trail. I heard him say, "Crap, he gotta gun! Frack!" so I imagine he was not alone. I shined the flashlight in his direction, but he was long gone.
The rest of the night was uneventful. I got home, called 911, and told them exactly what happened. I made sure to tell them that not once did I draw my weapon, and that the guy never said anything, nor did I ever see him with a weapon. They called me back about a minute after I hung up, with a strange request: if I could please secure my weapon in my home before the police showed up.
"Well, just for officer safety."
"What about my safety?"
"We just don't want any misunderstandings."
"I'll put it away when the get here."
I sat and waited, only about 10 minutes. Two patrol cars arrived. The lead officer stuck his head out of the window. "Are you the one who called, sir?"
"Are you still armed, sir?"
"Yep. Just waiting for you to get here."
"Would you mind securing your gun, sir?"
"I don't see why, but sure."
I went in, and threw my gun on the couch. I came back out and told the officers what happened. I gave them a description, as best as I could give, considering the lighting. He asked if I'd drawn on him; I said no. The dog warned me, which gave me time to react, which may have helped me avoid drawing, or even shooting someone.
"How did he see the gun, sir? Did you lift your shirt to expose it, or..."
"I was open carrying. All I had to do was put my hand on it."
"Oh, okay then. And you said he took off in which direction?"
"Past the tennis court, by the gate behind the apartments. Honestly, I don't know what he was planning. He never said anything, except 'Crap, he gotta gun!', but I figured I'd better call, just so he doesn't make a man-with-a-gun call later on."
"No, you did right. We've had a bunch of robberies in this area the past few weeks. Some guy jumping out at you from the dark wasn't gonna ask you for a cigarette. The gun probably saved you tonight."
"Yeah. That, and the dog."
"We're gonna patrol the area for the next few hours. If we find anything, we'll call you."
I got their names, we shook hands, and they left.