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backcountrybill

scary situation

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just wanted to share this little story and get thoughts on it from other like minded folks.

 

My wife and I were awoken at 4:50 on monday morning to our three dogs going ballistic at the front door. I sprung out of bed to see what the deal was and saw through the window in our front door that someone was trying to open the door. i immediately grabbed my gun and set myself up in a spot which gives me cover while also giving me a clear line of site to the entrance.

 

As I looked back i no longer saw the gentleman in the window and the door had not been manipulated or broken, so i cautiosly approachedfrom the side, and as I got closer, i heard the man moaning. as i got all the way to the window (one of those stained glass type deals without color that are hard to see through) I noticed the man sitting on my porch with the back to the door. we immediately called cops, but now i was unsure as to whether this was a threat or if this was a man in need of help. i felt inclined to investigate but rather than going out the front to find out, i decided to to take a safer route (with gun in hand) and went around the side yard, to the front and approach him from my driveway. I felt this was more appropriate and offered more of an escape for me if necessary and without exposing my wife to any additional danger if things turned south. she was inside with shotgun in hand at the furthest part of the house. as i approached, the man was now slumped over and bleeding pretty severely from his head. i tried to make contact but he was now unresponsive. i gave him a little kick to try and wake him up still nothing. at the time of contact, i shined my flashlight in his face to see if his eyes were open, which they were not, and noticed to gang related tattoos on his cheaks. at this time i decided for my own safety, not to offer additional aid to the man, and went back inside to secure my weapon and wait for deputies to arrive. long story short, he ended up going to the hospital for head trauma and severe intoxication. he was charged with drunk in public, disorderly conduct and some other BS which i cannot recall. apparently deputies had responded to another residence a few minutes before mine regarding a dispute that this man had with a woman.

 

i followed up with the responding deputy the next day to see what the outcome had been. after he briefed me, he told me "on a personal note, i wanted to make you aware of the possible outcome of taking your weapon outside with you." Now i did not tell him that i had my weapon at any point as i dont feel it was pertinent nor was it any of his business as it wasnt used. so i asked him why he was telling me this. he said that he had noticed that i had an NRA sticker on my truck parked in the driveway, one in the window of my garage and i came out to speak with him wearing a second amendment related shirt. (i had no idea. i grabbed the first shirt i could get my hands on)

 

i did not confirm nor deny that i had my weapon but he continued. He stated that he while he would most likely have taken the same actions, it was important for him to explain that had i shot the man, my gun would have been confiscated, and while i would most likely not have been arrested, i most certainly would have been tied up for the next year in litigation of the matter and stated that me going outside with my gun implies that i was looking for a fight.

 

I contemplated taking my german shepherd (trained personal protection dog) out with me as an alternative but realistically, a dog makes a better deterrent than protector and the direction from which i was approaching would have blocked him in and possibly have aggravated the situation if indeed he had ill intentions, so i opted for a more concealable device for protection.

 

So weigh in on this. i would like to hear your thoughts, good or bad. what would you have done differently in this scenario? Thanks in advance.

 

oh and as a final note, and probably the strangest part of the story, was that this guy, who was a burly hispanic male in his late 30's with gang tattoos on his cheeks, was wearing a black pinstriped suit. best dressed gang banger ive ever seen. also probably important to note that i live in a nice neighborhood, with little or no criminal activity but sadly, its located in the liberal state of CA.

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Backcountrybill,

Seems to me like I would have done pretty much the same thing. You were going outside, staying on your property, to see if the man needed assistance; carrying for your protection. Sounds right to me. If you shot the man, it would have meant you were fearing for your life; in which case I'd rather be tied up in court for a year than be dead. Some law enforcement are edgy about the public being armed.

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Backcountrybill,

Seems to me like I would have done pretty much the same thing. You were going outside, staying on your property, to see if the man needed assistance; carrying for your protection. Sounds right to me. If you shot the man, it would have meant you were fearing for your life; in which case I'd rather be tied up in court for a year than be dead. Some law enforcement are edgy about the public being armed.

 

I agree. I had a similar episode once, but the "perpatrator" was the elderly father of a neighbor that had alzheimers. He had apparently dreamed that he was sneak fishing on private property and was running from the owner. He was trying to hide in the "bushes" (my back porch).

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No question. I would have done the same thing. I'd be willing to bet that the officer wasn't trying to scare you but thought he'd let you know what "could" have happened. (Not sure, but just my thought.)

 

I would rather have to be tied up in litigation knowing that I protected my wife than have the possibility of bodily harm to one or both of us.

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CCSir, thanks for the response. I agree that the Deputy was not trying to scare me. the feeling i got was that he was talking to me on a friendly level as a likeminded individual who has knowledge of the law which he was sharing with me. I took it as such and appreciated his comment. that being said, if the situation occurred again, I would probably do it the exact same way.

 

it was a great learning experience, that has allowed me to better prepare for similar instances should they occur in the future.

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backcountrybill,

While I applaud your motives I think there are several things you did wrong or didn't consider. If you haven't read the "Aftermath" article

( http://survivalcache.com/survival-psychology-aftermath-self-defense-shooting/ ),

I think you should do so. I recommend you, and every gun owner, get an attorney on retainer who practices gun law. "I feared for my life" can still get you jail time if you are viewed as the aggressor. It can also get you sued into poverty. Now, as to what (from the comfort of my chair, drinking coffee - much different at the time) I think were the mistakes:

First, the officer didn't tell you everything. You certainly would have lost the gun had it been used. It would have stayed gone at least until the case was fully settled through the appeals process. Could be years or forever. That is why you need a second (maybe third) home defense weapon for every gun user in the house. Since the guy was a gang banger, killing him would probably have involved you in a discussion with other members of the gang on another night - without the weapon you used because it was in impound. Also, if the LEO had rolled up while you were "sneaking" around the corner, you could easily become the target. Getting in a fire fight with the responding LEO makes everyone a loser. This is always a concern when you are "checking" your house for a strange noise. Also, you probably didn't have your wallet on you so you couldn't PROVE who you were. One of your neighbors might have called the police with a "prowler with a gun" call about you; changes the whole dynamic of the way the police arrive.

You had no backup. If it had been a trap to get you out of the house, it just worked. You might have been taken from the rear and then your wife is alone and you're dead. If there had been more than one, separated by a couple of yards you might not have been able to control them both. While covering one, the "injured" BG is unobserved and you are vulnerable.

If I am opening the door at oh-dark-thirty, my wife has my back. If it is a trap my job is to drop to the floor and fire from there. She will be using the shotgun from cover back in the house. If your state has a "good Samaritan" law, you may be in trouble for NOT giving aid. If you do give aid, make sure you are NOT armed when you approach the stranger - that is another reason for my wife as backup. She covers me so I don't potentially give another weapon to a bad guy.

If you are not in a "castle doctrine" state, going outside could well make YOU the aggressor. The LEO you spoke to was giving you "a clue" about the legal and physical risk you were running. While in Texas, I can roam around my property openly carrying anything I own. That does not mean that what is legal is always wise. Yes I was armed, for example, when I took the trash to the curb this morning. Doesn't mean I need all my neighbors to know that fact so the weapon was concealed.

From the way you wrote, it read (to me at least) as if you checked the window and then went and got your gun. If I'm out of bed, I'm armed. Since I can not count on having time to return to the bed room for a weapon, my family is used to being met, at night, at the door by me holding a weapon. Even my daughter's boy friend has grown used to it when he brings her home.

I agree fully about the dog. Unless he is a trained guard dog, he can well be a distraction. Even if he is a trained guard dog, you'd still need a weapon to protect the dog who is protecting you.

Even a "good guy" who has had a little too much can be more than I can handle bare handed. I'd hate to get into a firefight with a neighbor who just got to the wrong door. Calling a paramedic to come with the LEO is a good idea - it shows you had no intent to do harm.

inside to secure my weapon and wait for deputies to arrive.

Not too sure by what you mean by "secure" your weapon. If you mean you locked it up, I think that was a mistake. I realize CA has strange laws, but my home defense firearm lives on the bedpost. Securing it means placing it in its holster. If I'm carrying my double barrel, when the LEO arrives, I break it open and place it in my weak hand, stock forward until I find out what the LEO wants me to do with it. Being unarmed with a 'gang banger' injured on the front step is a good way to be a victim of a drive by.

Just my not so humble opinion, but I would consider a different course of action for the future.

Edited by Capt Bart

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I would agree with Capt. Bart, I'm not leaving my house. Ohio is a lot different then Cali, I wouldn't get in trouble for having my weapon out while checking my property, though since I'm in the city they may frown on it. However from a 'tactical' standpoint, going into the darkness b/c of a man slumped on my front step is not worth the risk IMO, unless I can positively identify the person as a known 'friendly'...even then its iffy. There's just too much that can happen. I don't know if Ohio has a "Good Samaritan" law, but if we do, my "Good Samaritan" act is calling 911 for the cops and an ambulance. Just my opinion.

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........ apparently deputies had responded to another residence a few minutes before mine regarding a dispute that this man had with a woman...

 

First, don't f&%$ with this woman.

 

........ sadly, its located in the liberal state of CA....

 

Second, I would consider moving.

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Capt Bart, I figured that you would have some excellent insight into this situation. you have brought up valid points some of which had not, until you said them, crossed my mind. i had considered whether going outside was foolish, and also that i should have been with gun the minute my feet touched the ground. the latter will never happen again. As for the former, had this guy not appeared to be injured, i simply would have stayed inside and covered the door. it was the suit, and the moaning, and what i thought to be blood which brought me outside, and as soon as i saw the tattoos, i was back in. while originally i considered the possibility of multiple BG's, I took extra care, and time to analyze the situation and didnt think that was the scenario. our neighborhood is not one that has a gang problem. in fact, not only have i never before now seen anyone appearing to be a banger in the neighborhood, but i have also spoken at length to officers in the past that have said that our counties gang issues is centered in a city some 20 or so miles away. in addition, my city has been on the top ten safest cities in the country list pretty consistently in the last 5 or more years. i do not live in a fancy house, with flashy cars. its just a cookie cutter house where nothing stands out aside from having the tallest american flag on the block!! circumstances being what they were, it was my impression that this was simply a case of an injured or intoxicated man picking the wrong house in a tract neighborhood where all the houses look the same. It didnt even cross my mind that this could be some elaborate plan to get me out of my house, and i would think that if someone was going to put that much effort into it, that they would pick a neighborhood where their take would be much more valuable than mine and a target who is much easier than i to overtake. Not to say that I am some tactical expert, but i can tell you that neighbors in any house on my block are far easier and probably have far more loot. that being said, its better to be safe than sorry and I will most likely consider that if a similar situation should arise in the future. Capt Bart and JohnM1911, i truly appreciate your feed back and it will definitely affect my decision making process next time.

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Bama Man,

 

Apparently it was his aunt, who lives up a couple blocks and bonked him one with some kind of bat or object. he had a softball sized bump on his head that was fairly impressive. i agree, dont Eff with her. Second, If i could get my wife on board, i can guarantee all my neighbors would see of me leaving is elbows and heels cuz i'd be sprinting out of here.

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Capt Bart, i didnt complete my thought on the "safest cities" part. while that had entered my mind, i also considered that my motion lights which often go on if the wind blows the leaves on a tree and have very short bursts, which would indicate a second BG were not on. and upon my exit, i didnt just barge out like rambo, i carefully checked the corners and came out from a side which houses my dog run and allows me to view the whole front side of my property as well as those on either side and three across the street. as for the prowler part, my gun was quickly accessible but concealed and i have trained at length on accessing it in that manner. the street, and my house in particular is extremely well lit even when motion activated lights are off. in fact the officer made a comment as he was leaving, that this was likely the last house he would expect to be burglarized based on what he saw. but your insight will probably keep me inside the house next time.

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Capt Bart, I dont want to sound argumenative or like an ass. This is intended as inquisitive. You picked apart what he should not have done, but you did not add what he should have done... I too did the same as he did...

Heaard niose

Got gun,

Got out of bed,

Confirmed that someone was at back door.

Told wife to call police,

Came out the side of my house (wide open area, lots of light. Little chance of ambush, unless on roof) Came wide around the side of the house covering fields of approach (to me).

Identified suspect as neighbor's father with alzheimers.

Called police back to cancel.

Woke up neighbors...

 

The OP was criticized for going outside, yet it could have been a delireous friend (from injury) or even a neighbor that had been attacked or was still being attacked. I agree with his need to go outside. And I am not going outside in the middle of a crisis unarmed... How would you look your neighbor in the face if his wife was attacked and raped on your front porch while you sat inside and waited for the police...

Edited by Ready?4What?

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Ready and Bill,

I apparently gave a wrong impression; my apologies. I did not mean to appear critical. My concern was the moving around the side of the house part without backup. In safe neighborhoods, neighbors often call police for strange activity like someone moving in the dark around a corner of the house. From such confusion, good people get hurt. If it was a trap, you may well have just stepped in it.

 

Ready is also correct, I didn't say what I do. My drill is verify the front yard as best as I can, throw the front floods on (temporary distraction and loss of vision for any BG watching the house) open the front door and assess the situation. I have backup inside so I only have my front to control; I can retreat quickly to a secure position and my wife is instantly aware of an ambush if that is what it is. A sniper across the street could nail me as I come through the door (hate doors - perfect kill zone) of course but that is what the flare of lights is supposed to mitigate - won't stop but may help.

 

I do agree that we have a moral (even if not legal) obligation to help. Opening that front door was necessary, in my opinion. I judge that going solo around the outside of the house contained more risk than the direct approach.

 

Bill's NRA stickers actually could make his house more of a target than his neighbors. At least in Phoenix, there was a class of BGs who targeted places where they knew there were firearms. It was the firearms they wanted. The break-in was always more violent since the BGs assumed you were armed they came in shooting. I'm proud to be an NRA member but don't have any stickers showing. Just remember advertising that membership to EVERYONE who sees your car could get you jumped as you pull into your driveway at night. Being "the gray man" here has virtue.

 

In more detail, my response is to go to the end of the hall and look at the front door. The window is small, opaque and well lit from the street side. The front door is down a short "tunnel" (about 2 1/2 feet) so anyone there is plainly shadowed. If someone is there, I call for my wife to back me up. If no one is at the door I move to the front room window where I can check the front of the house without being seen. If I need to go out side, my lady comes to a position to guard my back while still inside the house, then I open the door and step out. Then I check what is needed. At no time am I alone outside.

 

If there is an injured party, my wife calls 911, I give her my weapon and I go check the person. Humans are capable of setting traps. The injured party may not be injured but may be bait. I realise that I take a risk going out to them but that risk I accept since I know my family is safe and help is on the way.

 

I didn't think you were argumentative. You are quite right, the time to think these things through is before you need them. The plans will probably change, but you need a plan. Playing it by ear is not a good plan.

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Capt Bart. your critique was requested and therefore no apology is necessary. i agreed with most of what you had to say, and have questioned some of the decisions that i made both before and after your responses. your feedback has been most beneficial and i appreciate it.

 

i do believe in a general sense that your assessment was spot on. but i think we would all agree that being in the situation would change the decision making process immensely. in my case, i would never under any circumstances open my front door, back up or not. i believe it would expose me and my family to greater harm. i chose to go out the back and around the side, because my backyard is difficult to get to and nearly impossible to get into without me knowing about it. and i went around the sides because i am protected by tall fences/ walls and i have a clear view for nearly 50 yards throughout which my only exposure would be forward and covered. in my particular circumstance, opening the front door is far more dangerous than going around the sides.

 

i do have one question which if you explained it, i missed. my inclination in this instance was to go outside armed to see if assistance was needed. you stated that if you are offering assistance you would hand your weapon to your wife. why would you choose to assist unarmed?

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Because when your lay your weapon down or put it in your holster, the victim could grab it and shoot you. It could be an intentional ruse to attack you. Or an actual victim could be delerious and shoot you not realizing what was going on. They could think that YOU are attacking them. strange things go through the mind of a trauma victim. Ask an EMT about how often they are assaulting while rendering aid...

 

And Bill, I agree about the front door. You could hide a 20 person entry team, their truck and an APC at the front of my house and I might not be able to see it from the front door. There are alot of home invasions in my neighbor hood, but there is no hiding. They just bust the door in and beat the crap out of anyone they see (stabbed one), then rob them. And yes, I have steel doors and reinforced frames... haha Wont stop em, but should slow them down long enough for me to get to a gun...

Edited by Ready?4What?

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Bill and Ready,

Bill is spot on as to why don't go near with a weapon. If you have cleared the front, taking the firearm to your front door or retracing your steps and coming out the front door unarmed should be possible. If your neighbor took away your gun and shot you he'd feel terrible after he was no longer delirious - better not to make them feel bad and you not to be shot with your own weapon.

As to not going out the front, Artillery OCS taught me the right answer to any unknown - "That depends on the Tactical situation, sir!" Sounds like you have a good, solid reason for the choice you made of not going out the front. The right answer is to examine your home's layout and then maximize your advantages. Just remember to be conscious of how you might appear to an arriving LEO and consider what your course of action will be with your weapon. The only 100% safe answer is to not go outside, just call the police. That doesn't work for me - I seem pathologically unable to ignore folks who need help. For example, I've broken up, in my front yard, what was becoming an assault by a stupid teenager on his girl friend. After our discussion on the "correct" way to treat a Texas lass (all the time holding a coach gun, pointed at the ground, in my right hand, hammers back - on my property I can carry what I want, open or concealed ) he apologized to the young lady, to me, to her friends and left as quickly as he could. I'm sure it was all about my wise consul and had nothing to do with the 12 GA double :rolleyes: but the assault didn't happen and the police were not involved. I've heard that he calmed down a great deal after that talk.

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I would have stayed inside. I don't want to have to shoot anybody, so I would wait in a defensive position, not go clear my property. I suppose that you should be *allowed* to go outside in this scenario if you're on your own property, and I understand that you went to asses whether or not this man needed aid, but in general I think that shooting someone just bc they're on you're property is immoral. Unless you can demonstrate that there was reasonable suspicion that he was likely to harm you, I don't see the justification to shoot. I'm also a CA resident, and hate the way this state treats home defenders. Look, if someone trespasses on your property I don't think that gives you justification to kill them. If I'm in my house, and a Home Invader 1. Ignores the deterrent signs outside my home, 2. Makes entry into my home, 3. proceeds despite the ADT alarm, 4. Ignores the "schickt schickt GET THE F*CK OUT!" and 5. advances on me or demonstrates some form of hostile intent, I see it as fine to kill them. In SHTF I'll be less tolerant, and if for example my daughter was downstairs while I was upstairs and someone broke in, you bet I'd find and kill them. Again, I understand that you weren't going outside to assert your ownership over your property with lethal force, and that different situations or real life stress are not as picture perfect as my example, but crossing a property line doesn't constitute cause for lethal force in my opinion. I'm not saying that my opinion is what the law should be, bc that mentality when enacted into law serves to limit the home defender; I just think that we should avoid having to use our firearms unless absolutely necessary.

Edited by JohnDoe1999

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I would have stayed inside. I don't want to have to shoot anybody, so I would wait in a defensive position ... Again, I understand that you weren't going outside to assert your ownership over your property with lethal force, and that different situations or real life stress are not as picture perfect as my example, but crossing a property line doesn't constitute cause for lethal force in my opinion. I'm not saying that my opinion is what the law should be, bc that mentality when enacted into law serves to limit the home defender; I just think that we should avoid having to use our firearms unless absolutely necessary.

 

John,

You might read

http://survivalcache.com/survival-psychology-deadly-force/

if you have not done so. The choice to use deadly force is not one to be taken lightly. Tactical situations do alter the proper action so it does vary. Personal experience also can dictate responses. Staying in your safe room and providing protection to your family is the A+ answer if that course is open to you. There is no chance that you will get cross wise with the responding LEO that way. Others, with different backgrounds (military, LEO, EMT, etc.) may feel qualified to verify without LEO involvement. It is a personal choice and only a hypocrite or an idiot would dare to tell you that protecting your own ( your absolute, first priority) is not a good choice. Anyone try it, refer them to me and I'll EXPLAIN it to them in small words that they will understand.

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Sir, I'll give the article another read; I remember it being of excellent quality and insight. I'm not trying to tell anyone what they should do in this situation, I'm just trying to advocate restraint. Another thing, the urban combat training I've had really taught me one thing: How easy it is for it to go wrong. It took me a while to get the testosterone under control and realize that getting my people to a safe room (a closet will do) and defending the funnel is the best option, not sweeping and clearing on my own.

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It took me a while to get the testosterone under control and realize that getting my people to a safe room (a closet will do) and defending the funnel is the best option, not sweeping and clearing on my own.

A little known fact is that somewhere between 7 and 12 percent of causalities in combat are the result of "friendly fire"(there is NOTHING friendly about lead coming your way but it is nice if the shooter didn't mean it I guess). Getting safe and staying put is the best advice. Anyone who knows what they are doing will tell you that doors are the worst places to get through since you can't dodge and the guys on the other side KNOW exactly where you are. I don't necessarily know what I'm doing but I do know to stay out of door ways.

 

I applaud your attitude - it is tough to do the right things when they don't feel good or others disagree with you.

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http://corneredcat.com/Legal_Resources/

 

Here is a link that deals with weapons and deadly force laws. Also, Massad Ayoob offers several books and courses dealing with self defense and the law.

Some good feedback and thoughts on this topic and the situation. The next biggest quote (one taught and drilled for Army deadly force scenarios) is " I aimed center mass". This will be in response to "why didn't you aim for a leg or arm?". Center mass offers the largest target and minimizes the likelihood of a stray round finding an innocent "backstop". Capt's articles offer several great thoughts and I wouldn't say "planning" for testimony in a criminal case should be dinner table conversation, but having a reason for why you did what you did is probably a cautious preparation. Signs that advertise "trespassers being shot" will also give the opposition's lawyers for painting you as a premeditated muderer (NRA stickers may in certain locales; just as wearing a military uniform or tee shirt causes contempt and verbal assaults of "baby killer" from certain groups).

Edited by Regulator5

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John, I certainly agree that deadly force is a last resort to be used only for circumstances in which someone poses a serious threat to you or your family. i dont believe, nor was it my intention to utilize my weapon to enforce rules regarding property lines or tresspassing. the thought process for me was, that there is a guy on my porch who i watched attempt to walk through the front door. He then sat down back to the door and keeled over and appeared to be in need of aid (there was visible blood) I went outside to see who it was and whether the invidiual needed aid. Gun was concealed and taken with me as a precaution only and was never visible to the man on my porch. but you can bet your ass im not going out unprotected in case it was an ambush of some sort.

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Pretty scary situation. I really don't have anything fresh to add to the great advice that has alreay been said but I would just tell you what I would have done. I would have done everything you did except leave the house. Who knows if it was a ploy to get you to come out? I would want to stay secure in my house where I know what is going on and and protect my family. Having said that it is tough becuase if you know someone is hurt yo want to help them and that is exactly what it sounds like happened to you. I would have tried talking through a window to him to see if he was awake and needed help. If you are in town or near a town it shouldn't take too long for police to arrive at your house so why risk leaving your house, if it was someone you knew that would be a different issue. While I completly understand what the officer was trying to say and do for you I hate the idea at the same time. It really sucks that that is what it has come down to. A drunk, injured gangbanger tries to break into your home ( yes he was probably just looking for help) and you call the cops to help him but you get lectured on the dangers of bringing a firearm out to investigate this scene on your front step...Seems ass backwards to me. A gun is just a tool, just the sight of it however puts people's hair on end. You were doing all the right things except protecting your family...which is wrong??

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