Situational Awareness event this evening

This is a discussion on Situational Awareness event this evening within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I had a strange situation this evening. Me and my buddies rent a large building in an abandoned furniture mill complex to use as a ...

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Thread: Situational Awareness event this evening

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Situational Awareness event this evening

    I had a strange situation this evening. Me and my buddies rent a large building in an abandoned furniture mill complex to use as a garage (work on cars, restore cars, store cars, hang out "man cave" with pool table, etc.). It's located in the middle of town. After shovelling snow for the second day in a row, I decided to go down to the cave for an hour or so before the football game. We're moving a paint booth in, so there's been a lot going on.

    With all of the snow (about 14 inches this weekend on top of 12 inches still on the ground from before), we shoveled out one gate for access. It's easier to park across the street in the pawn shop lot and walk in through this particular gate rather than the one we usually drive through.

    It was still light out when I got there. Parked in the empty lot across the street and opened the gate, pulled it closed (to look locked as you drove by) and shot a little pool and listened to music. I was the only one down there as everyone else had already left. All seems normal.

    When I left, it was dark out. Given the folks I've seen walk around downtown at night, I'm always cautious when I come and go.

    As I walk out the door to the building, I notice the gate is ajar about 3 feet. Not possible by itself given how I left it. Situational Awareness goes on high. I keep my back to the wall, pull my subcompact 9mm in a low and ready close to my body (beneath the left side of my open jacket), and take everything in.

    Observations: There is now a dark colored 4 door older car in the pawn shop parking lot several spaces from my truck. There are huge piles of snow in the lot, and the lot light on that end of the lot is out. It wasn't out last night when me and my buddies parked there.

    I stand there for a minute scanning the immediate area as well as the area across the street. I lock the door to the building while scanning and proceed to the gate. I lock the chain/pad lock gate while scanning in all directions, keeping my sub 9mm in hand.

    As I proceed across the street, I take an angle towards the corner of the building rather than across to my truck. This end of the building has a light (the side of the building). From this angle, I can see all the way down the front of the building and down the side, and keep the vehicles in view and not be close to a huge pile of snow.

    As I get to the front of the building, I notice the interior light is on in the car, but no one is in it. Very Strange to me. SA steps up a notch. I hit the unlock button on my truck and it lights up every light on the truck, inside and out. Very bright around it. I stay put and use the lights around the truck to assess the surrounding area and watch. After a minute, the lights go out. I re-lock the vehicle remotely and use the lights to again assess. At this point, I can see my drivers side and back of my truck and the drivers side and front of the other car. About 3 spaces between them. I then hit the unlock button once (which only unlocks the driver's door) and lights up all lights, and I proceed swiftly to my truck 9mm in right hand in visible ready position. I jump in my truck, lock the door, start and roll. As I am pulling away, I look in my rear view mirror and a man sits up in the driver's seat of the car as I pull away.

    I take the next left and pass the building on the next street on the other side of the lot and the car is pulling out. It seems to me he was up to no good one way or another. Could have been staking out the truck for a potential break-in and I interupted, could have been waiting for the driver to return, or could have been doing drugs and I interupted and he was waiting for me to leave.

    In any event, it was a strange situation. Thanks to folks on this forum, my SA told me something wasn't right. I'll never know what this person was thinking or up to, but that's ok. One mystery I don't want the answer to.
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  3. #2
    Ex Member Array maddyfish's Avatar
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    In my opinion, deploying your weapon was a little over the top,but no harm done.

    If you see my gun, get down, because I am shortly going to be firing.

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Probably. I was carrying in my pants pocket (in pocket holster) with a large heavy coat on. I could have moved it to coat pocket instead with my hand in position. My concern was how close the car was to my truck, in the dark, driver's sides facing inwards, with having keys in hand and having to open the door (and climb into a 4x4).
    Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
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    Guns are like sex and air...its no big deal until YOU can't get any.

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    And then getting your gun pinned in your pocket when the SHTF.

    Excellent tactics with the remote.

    Did he follow you?

    Did you call 911 to report this activity?
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array bladenbullet's Avatar
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    next time trip the panic button on the remote...see if that gets em moving...the lights are one thing..drawing attention with sound is something altogether....

  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    Handled well, but if it were me, next trip to the cave, go in through your gate and lock up once you are inside. A 4X4 should have no problem getting through the snow even if you haven't shoveled it yet.
    Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.

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    Member Array jerzsubbie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugergirl View Post
    Handled well, but if it were me, next trip to the cave, go in through your gate and lock up once you are inside. A 4X4 should have no problem getting through the snow even if you haven't shoveled it yet.
    Agreed, I drive through 12" of snow in my Subaru no problem. Regardless, good job staying alert!

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like you did a good job. SA was good as well as getting out of the situation all together. +1 on what rugergirl said.
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    Distinguished Member Array 21bubba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    In my opinion, deploying your weapon was a little over the top,but no harm done.

    If you see my gun, get down, because I am shortly going to be firing.
    I totally disagree. There,s nothing wrong with getting ahead of the curve in a situation as described.

  11. #10
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    The emergency button was a good suggestion. The next time I went down there, I would drive inside your own space and close the gate behind you...did you ever find out what opened the gate? Were there any tracks in the snow going towards your building?
    I also think I would have kept my firearm holstered until it was needed...OMO
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  12. #11
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    I think your SA was good. I agree a better tactic would have been to arm yourself, given your choice of carry, but to keep your weapon concealed. No sense giving away your tactical advantage!
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

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  13. #12
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    I appreciate all of the feedback. This is the first time we've had to use this side gate other than taking a trailer in and out. We have 2 feet of snow on the ground and this morning it was 1 degree outside when I left for work (it's solid as a rock). The truck will go in it, but I can't swing the gates open without completely digging it out. That chain link fence gate has large plywood signs connected to it at the bottom, so the snow can't go through the links (learned that the last snow, which was 18 inches). We had to shovel out the side gate to get a trailer in with paint booth parts, so we've just used it the last couple of weeks. With the snow packed down and frozen from moving the booth, you couldn't see any tracks. I never figured out how or why the gate was ajar. That gate is at the road, so it necessitates parking across the street, opening the gate, then going back across and going around the block to drive in (or going the wrong way up a one way street 20 yards or so). So we've just been parking there and walking across the street (usually more than one of us there at a time).

    I thought about the panic button, but there was no one around within a quarter mile. All businesses or empty buildings in that part of town (which isn't a good part). That still would have been the best thing to do whether anyone else around or not. In the future, I would activate the panic button from the building door and watch from there.

    I sometimes carry a snub in my jacket pocket too in the winter for access, but not always. Perhaps a re-think in order there for standard winter carry. I agree with keeping it concealed, and usually do, but I felt like if it was an ill-intended situation, I was already at a tactical disadvantage. I had no idea if anyone was in the car or behind huge piles of snow (about 3 times the size of my truck), how many it could be, if they had watched me go in and knew I was alone, etc. I kept it low ready out of sight and as I approached my vehicle (the most vulnerable time being getting in) I moved it to high ready (against sternum muzzle down).

    We've had the cave for several years, and just recently we've had 4 instances of total strangers wandering in asking if we were hiring, if we did car work, etc. But it has only happened when there is one person there. My buddy was in the office area (far back corner of the 11,000 sq ft building) sewing leather car seat covers when he looked up and 2 guys were within 7 feet of him. He said they asked if we were hiring, he said no, and walked out with them. There are no signs or windows on the building, so they had to have seen us come and go. One was talking to him and the other was mostly checking everything out. He said their demeanor made him very uncomfortable. Later that week, their new Cub Cadet mower was stolen from behind their house, but that could have been purely coincidental. He now keeps his G23 in his table drawer while sewing or on his person while in the building. He contacted a lock smith last week to get a lock on the door we can lock from the inside, but he hasn't made it down yet.

    I didn't call the police since nothing really happened, and the car didn't follow me. There was just something strange about it that made me alert. The recent string of people wandering in has made me more aware too. During the summer when we would have the garage door open for air flow, we noticed people using that lot for "hook-ups" and even saw a few suspicious deals. The pawn shop is apparently a very popular place during and after hours.

    I went down this evening and pulled inside the side gate. I also told my buddies about it. They agreed whatever the guy was up to, it could not have been good or he would not have been hiding. Either scoping out the truck for something to steal or was in the process of meeting someone for something. I do appreciate the feedback and suggestions...it will make me re-think a number of things and do some things differently. That's why I come to this forum...to learn from others. Thanks to all.
    Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
    No Guns, No Safety, No Peace.


    Guns are like sex and air...its no big deal until YOU can't get any.

  14. #13
    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    4 recent incidents of strangers just walking in?
    I'd be locking the gate after I pulled inside as well as keeping the door(s) locked.
    Two strangers walking in within 7 feet before he noticed, in any neighborhood, especially a questionable one, tells me your friend needs to work on his SA. Might be time for a talk with your cave mates about SA and security.
    It does sound like a great cave other than the location.
    Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.

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    Member Array msb45's Avatar
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    Agree with the posts above. I've had a conversation with a sketchy dude until he noticed that my hand never left my pocket (.38 in a pocket holster). Action beats reaction.

    If the door won't lock from the inside temporarily put something against it to keep it shut or at least make a noise. Maybe drill a hole in the floor 1-2" back and stick a bolt to only let the door open a crack to see who's there.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    We're working on the door lock thing. Right now, just a pad lock and hasp on the door that opens outward. I've mentioned that they could go out through the garage door and put the padlock on and then close the garage door. Anyone needing in has a key. Anyone without a key doesn't need in. You're right...very little regard for SA on their part.

    During the day, the mill complex (multiple buildings on multiple blocks) has two other gates. One is a landscaping supply company (mulch, rocks, gravels, etc.) that keeps their gate open during the day for customers to come in and the other another company has open for their trucks (they rent another building on the other end of that block of buildings). All other gates are locked at 5:00 pm.

    The Man Cave is our getaway. We build cars, restore cars, shoot pool, listen to music, and hide from the world for a little while. Just got to work on access and SA. We all have CC permits, but not all actually CC with any regularity...even after recent events. I can lead a mule, I mean my buddies to water, but you can't make them open their eyes and realize it's there.
    Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
    No Guns, No Safety, No Peace.


    Guns are like sex and air...its no big deal until YOU can't get any.

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