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I noticed him as we walked from the parking lot because he came out of the store and crossed in front of us to sit down on a bench. He was a big guy with a backpack and a bible in his hand and a look like he had too much on his mind. I waited just inside the store while the wife used the restroom just down the wall to the left. I stood off to the side as he walked past me and started pacing back and forth in front of the checkout like he was lost.
The wife came out of the restroom and headed past him and towards the other end of the store. I fell back until I saw him head towards the door to leave. After we checked out and we got in the car I asked the wife if she had seen the guy with the backpack and told her that he had problems.
A couple of days later the headline read -Active Shooter At Target.
He had returned to the store and paced in front of the checkout but this time he started screaming and ranting about their restroom policy.
As people fled the store they didn't know if he had a weapon in his backpack so it was called in as an active shooter.
The police had just recently trained for an active shooter situation and took control of the situation very quickly.
As I read further down it said that he was arrested without incident and that no weapon was found. But I felt good for having had the awareness to look out for myself and my wife when I saw something out of ordinary.
 

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Yikes! Sounds like a potentially scary situation. I actually remember reading about it in the news; some kind of religious extremist IIRC. I'm glad it was resolved without shots being fired.
 

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Glad your all safe. But for a no. of reasons always take a gun with you to go to a restroom in Target. You don't know what or who you might find.
 
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It is said that [situational awareness] is comprised of a combination of elements based on heuristics, biometrics, proxemics, geographic's, atmospherics and kinesics. What you described seemed to touch on at lease 3 of those elements. That's pretty darn good for a casual observation... Good Job
 

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Why didn't you call the police when you first noticed his strange behavior? He sounded like he was in need of intervention, you saw it and recognized it but did not act on it.
 

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Glad you and your wife walked out safely. I try and preach to wife to be aware of her surroundings. Hopefully some of it sinks in.
 

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Why didn't you call the police when you first noticed his strange behavior? He sounded like he was in need of intervention, you saw it and recognized it but did not act on it.
and report what? a guy acting oddly in a public place? I would have paid attention while I was there but I would not have called the Police on him. If he was "bothering" someone, yeah..I would call. People are allowed to be odd, its not a crime in my estimation. I think the OP did a good job.. he identified a potential problem and looked out for himself and his wife.
 

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Though a good job, IMO, the OP would have done slightly better if, as soon as his 'radar' went off, told the wife -before- she went into the restroom 'hun, we should use a different store'.

Problem is this guy crossed the OP's path and then was between the OP and his wife, and the wife had to cross in front of him.

Next best would have been to go to the lady's room door and escort his wife past the guy, though there is something to say about having some distance and operating space, but the guy could have started up and the OP unable to shoot if needed, because his wife was in the line of fire.

Thanks for the share. I'd say try to take away from this that it's better to act sooner, even on a hunch.
 

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So there was no gun and no shooting. Why is this an "Active Shooter Situation."?
 
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Discussion Starter #12
You can't report somebody for looking like they have a lot on their mind. Even when they have so much on their mind that it looks like they are shutting everything around them out. He came back into the store while my wife was in the restroom and I didn't have any idea that he would be coming back inside while we were there. I didn't want to have to explain to my wife why I was keeping an eye on this guy so I walked with her until we were past him and then I hung back and kept an eye on him until he headed towards the door to leave again. We did pass pretty close to him as we walked towards the other end of the store but I was ready in case something did happen. He looked like he was kind of in so deep of thought that he didn't even notice that I was watching him. He would walk past the end of the check outs and then turn like he forgot something and walk back again. This only lasted for a minute and I suppose most people would have thought that he had forgotten something and was trying to decide whether to go on or turn back for it. I don't think he turned out to be a danger to other people even though he was a big guy and probably scared the hell out of people when he started yelling and screaming. We weren't there when that happened. I think he was very torn up about Target's restroom policy because of his religious beliefs. I have noticed that I can keep an eye on somebody for a very long time without them noticing me. But I can also lock eyes with people so that they know I am watching and warn them away too.
 

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So you thought he was enough of a threat to watch and you needed to escort your wife but you stayed in the store? Someone acting strange, struggling with a decision, holding a religious book and carrying a backpack? I'm leaving. They could be carrying anything in that backpack.
 
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