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Old August 8, 2002, 02:38 PM   #1
Skyhawk
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A Personal Incident (TX)

Well, I thought that I would post about an incident that happened to me in March. I have been reluctant to post about this episode previously and wanted to hear how other folks on this board felt about it.

A little about myself first. Been around firearms for a long time (35+ yrs) and carried infrequently prior to CHL. Carried regularly CHL since '95. Have been a multi-discipline NRA Certified Instructor for over two decades. I'm a peaceful person and usually keep to myself. I have disabled parking plates on my vehicle due to a physical disability. I just renewed my CHL last week and my qualifying group was all rounds (50) in a group about the size of the bottom of a coke can.

I have lived in a nice apartment complex in Corpus Christi for about three years and pay a fairly high rent payment. Residents pay extra for reserved and covered parking. Almost all of the folks that live there are courteous and respectful of others with only a couple of exceptions.

In early March some folks moved in and immediately started parking in other peoples reserved parking spaces during the day and sometimes all night. Free parking spaces are very limited. This went on for about three weeks. It is a part of the lease agreement, as well as posted "no parking signs" throughout the complex so every tenant is aware of the rules. I am DoD and a lot of military personal live at the complex. As I observed this behavior, and as it was none of my business, I said nothing. Several of my military neighbors would come home late at night only to find these people parked in their space. I figured that they would register a complaint with the manager.

Well, one evening I come home from work and guess what? They are now parking in my reserved space. I called the apartment manager and the vehicle was towed. About one hour later I was setting on my second floor balcony and witnessed several (30 ish) "gang member" types vandalize my 2000 Lariat. I called the police and went downstairs to examine the damage (about $1000 worth). There was a group of these people (six or seven) still in the area. If you have ever seen the older hispanic gang members in the Texas prisons on TV, this is exactly what they looked like.

It was dark and as they were still within earshot, I asked them why they had damaged my truck and told them that I had witnessed the vandalism and the police were on the way. Several of them became very irate and started cursing and insulting me. One large individual quickly charged me, covering about thirty feet, loudly yelling "I didn't do nothing you MF'er". He was holding his keys in his right hand, chest puffed out, and waving his arms up and down. I did not retreat and told him to stop advancing and to not come any closer but he ignored me. He got right in my face (about three inches away) and while waving the keys in my face began yelling and cursing again. He had very bad breath and his saliva was hitting my glasses. I was in condition red and was trying to keep track of the location of his companions. I felt an attack was imminent but did not want to over-react and tried to rely upon my training to deescalate the situation.

I was wearing sweats and a loose t-shirt with my fanny-pack underneath. I had turned my left side to the perp to keep my right arm clear with my hand under my t-shirt on my pistol. He continued to rant and spout profanities. I stood my ground and expected the worst to happen. After a minute or two a couple of his companions came over and physically pulled him away saying it wasn't worth the trouble. I then retreated into the parking lot to wait for the police to show up and they continued to taunt and curse saying "Are your F'in cop buddies going to show up?"

After a couple of minutes, the same person that had charged me earlier, quickly covered about forty feet loudly yelling "I'm going to F you up you MF'er". I again told him to stop advancing and to not come any closer. He ignored me completely and got in my face again waving his arms with his keys in his right hand, bad breath, spit and all. I felt certain he has going to attack me this time so I positioned myself and prepared to draw going through my mind what I needed to do. I did not feel that his bad behavior and ranting would be viewed by a jury as allowing me to use deadly force quite yet, as he had not laid a hand on me. He continued to vent and curse for a minute or two until his buddies pulled him away again stating that it was not worth it. All of this ruckus caused some of the neighbors to look out of their windows to see what the heck was going on.

This individual came very, very close to being shot. If he had struck me or knocked me down, or his buddies would have ganged up I would have been forced to defend myself.

Well the police came and ran everybody for warrants and took a report. As the perps denied vandalizing my truck, no arrests were made, as it was my word against theirs. I went to the DA the next week and they declined to act on the matter stating that it was a "he said, she said". I went to the apartment manager in an attempt to have these jerks evicted and was unsuccessful as they claimed complete innocence.

These lowlifes are still around and I'm hoping the high rent will discourage them from renewing their lease. I believe that they make a habit of intimidating and bullying people around to get their way. Some of the other neighbors are afraid of them. These folks have at least three or four visitors each night that only stay for a short period of time and then leave.

It has been my belief that "bad things happen to bad people". It is my fervent desire that this jerk picks on the wrong person and winds up taking a permanent dirt nap.

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Old August 8, 2002, 02:50 PM   #2
Hemicuda
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biggest problem I see here is that you let him get "in your face" not once, but twice...

after the "don't come any closer" (first time) you owed it to yourself to back that up...

warn him, then back it up... 20' is close enough... draw, and if he steps in again, SHOOT!
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Old August 8, 2002, 02:57 PM   #3
Jesse H
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I probably would've drawn on him if I were in your shoes. I'm a little guy, by myself, big mad guy with his rowdy friends, we're in Texas...but then again, I'm not so sure if I would've gone downstairs to confront the @ssholes, by myself w/out cops.

I would be furious though, if anybody vandalized my baby.

Thank goodness nobody got hurt, good luck with these guys in the future. Sorry about your truck.
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Old August 8, 2002, 02:57 PM   #4
buzz_knox
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Technically, he assaulted you as you believed that you were about to be hit. Unfortunately, most cops wouldn't have arrested on those grounds, and you can't use deadly force just for an assault.

In your shoes, I would have pulled back inside the complex to wait for the cops. I would also have called 911 back and told them that you were in fear for your safety. Never hurts to be a police tape to that effect.
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Old August 8, 2002, 03:14 PM   #5
Blackhawk
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1. You saw your Lariat being vandalized (at what time?).

2. You saw who did it from your 2nd story balcony.

3. You went to your vehicle and estimated the damage at about $1,000.

4. You're positive that the damage was done by those individuals.

5. You had a sub life threatening encounter with one of them, twice, while awaiting the police.

6. Even though your vehicle was visibly damaged and you witnessed it being done by them, the police made no arrests.

7. The DA declined to prosecute because of "he said/she said" despite your vehicle being damaged.

8. Apparently, the police did not send an evidence unit to examine your vehicle for forensic evidence.

9. The management of your complex declined to take any action presumably because the police also declined.

=======================

Something doesn't add up with all that....

Did you swear out a criminal complaint against them for malicious mischief or whatever flies in Corpus Christi?

Those guys are either innocent or they know exactly how to play the game of "righteous indignation when falsely accused."

Because they stuck around and got in your face after you accused them and told them the police were on their way is very likely to make a cop think maybe they are innocent.

I'd get an X-10 video camera, hook it up to your VCR through one of those X-10 motion sensor camera controls, and train it on your vehicle. It will only record movement, so you'll have days worth of monitoring on a single tape.

I'd completely avoid confronting them because you're liable to find yourself accused by them of something that might stick to the point of your CHL being suspended. If you do "have" to resort to your CCW either to display it or shoot one of them, your position will be just a little better than Jack Ruby's in Dallas in 1963.

You're stuck in a web...

Last edited by Blackhawk; August 8, 2002 at 04:41 PM.
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Old August 8, 2002, 03:17 PM   #6
hansolo
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Dirt Nap in Order

I empathize with this horrible invasion of your space and dignity, Skyhawk, by a group of scumholes. I can't/won't tell you what I would do in the same situation, but would consider talking with sympathetic neighbors and local LEO's. If they won't intervene, I'd do exactly what Hemicuda suggested...like Charles Bronson in "Death Wish," wait for these as**oles to get into a similar scenario and give one verbal warning; "Back off or I'll shoot." If Mr. Bad Breath, or any of his minions still advance, do a double tap to the Center of Mass and one or two to the cranium.

My adrenaline is going just thinking about these kinds of encounters that may result in the "late" Mr. Bad Breath's heirs getting a Defense Lawyer. My brother recently retired as a Superior Court Judge: he saw these creeps like F. Lee Bailey, et al, defending the BG's and he'd want to puke. My brother would tell me stories about the Defense lawyers joking about getting these pieces of human feces back on the street.

Well, I degress, but, hang in there, Pal, and I'm sure you'll handle it fine.

Take care of yourself

Steve
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Old August 8, 2002, 03:22 PM   #7
laynlow
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Why not make a citizens arrest for the damage to the truck and turn them over to the custody of the police?
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Old August 8, 2002, 03:32 PM   #8
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Cut your losses.

1. Jail sucks.

2. Being in jail with friends of the bleep you just capped sucks even more.

Videotape the suckers. Make copies. If the cops don't do anything, take it to the local newspapers and TV, along with a tape of the cops telling you that they won't do anything.

Then again, if several .50 cal holes started appearing in their vehicles' glass (.50 lead balls work VERY nice with wrist rocket slingshots), maybe they could take a hint... For that matter, pulled rifle or pistol bullets might not be the most accurate wrist rocket projectiles, but could really drive folks crazy. Watch for fingerprints, of course.

But that's sort of extreme.
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Old August 8, 2002, 03:36 PM   #9
DanP
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Well, I for one think that you did great restraining yourself in that position.

Perhaps you could have avoided getting into it in the first place, but then again you were there, not me.

Great restraint. No consequences. Good.
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Old August 8, 2002, 03:42 PM   #10
HankB
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Quote:
Well, one evening I come home from work...About one hour later I was setting on my second floor balcony and witnessed several (30 ish) "gang member" types vandalize my 2000 Lariat.
If they broke windows in the truck, one would reasonably conclude they were stealing items from the truck, or the truck itself.

May I suggest you study the Texas penal code regarding permitted actions against thieves at night in the Lone Star State? Or ask an attorney to explain it to you?

I don't know "exactly" what happened, but maybe - just maybe - you'll find that Texas law gives you more options than you think you have.
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Old August 8, 2002, 04:04 PM   #11
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Skyhawk,
I am young so my "experience" and "advice" does not carry much weight but I think you did great. You kept your cool as well as control of YOUR situation. I know your heart was probably pumping a mile a second but it sounds like your brain was as well. If I am ever put in a situation like that (I am sure I will being I am a LEO in training) I hope I can maintain my wits as well as you did. I am glad nobody had to be hurt. Hope things work out for you.

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Old August 8, 2002, 04:06 PM   #12
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Personally, I would not have let the guy get that close to me. I'm only 5'8", 150 lbs, so I maintain distance in any encounter (which happens almost never). Plus, even if I were 6"4", at that distance he could easily attack you with his fists or a weapon and you would have little or no warning. You would be in a reactive mode, rather than proactive. I would have placed my hand up in a "stop" fashion without touching the guy, issued a verbal command to "stay away from me" and simultaneously began to slowly back up towards my door. This keeps some type of barrier between you and the BG. If he pushes your hand away or pushes up aganist your hand, I would have drawn my gun. If he did not back up at that point, I would have shot him twice in the COM. Rememer that in Texas, you only have to have the perception of an imminent physical threat to use deadly force. You perceived that threat. That criteria was clearly met, IMO, and you would have been justified to kill the guy.

Next, I second the suggestion to invest $400-500 in a 8mm digital camcorder, one that has night vision. Set it up on a tripod in your window, out of view, and let it continously record while you are asleep. Talk to your neighbors about everyone keeping a watch out for everyone else. Don't mention the troublemakers, per se, just that you appreciate them looking out for you, and you will do the same. Talk to the building manager about what needs to be done to evict someone. The manager may be afraid of these guys and is playing ostrich, hoping the probpem will disappear (which it won't). Review your lease agreement carefully and find the clauses for eviction. Subtlely let your building manager know that if he doesn't address the problem per the lease, you may be forced to seek redress in civil court.

Finally, don't back down. These guys are cowards and bullies. It takes someone with a strong backbone to stand up to them.
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Old August 8, 2002, 04:36 PM   #13
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As your complex probably takes rent subsidies (section 8) chances are not only will they not be moving, they'll be joined by more.

I've moved 4 times in14 years because of the kind of sh*t people you speak of. I currently live in a townhouse I really like. The sh*t people are now moving in the nieghborhood and "for sale" signs are poping up all over the neighborhood. So since you can't shoot 'em, and you can't live with them, all you can do is move,as I will next year.
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Old August 8, 2002, 05:15 PM   #14
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popeye,

Reminds me of the house my wife and I just moved out of. Solidly middle-class neighborhood. The local Housing Authority bought it for low-income families. Price was in the upper '90s. Neighbors are real nervous. I was against the idea until I found out that they had already bought 2 other houses on the block and were planning to buy more. Nice use of our tax dollars.
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Old August 8, 2002, 05:47 PM   #15
OF
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Skyhawk,

This is all, of course, armchair quarterbacking, as you were the only one there. By being there, you had the only valid informed take on what the level of threat was. Body language and details may have indicated to you that this guy wasn't a real threat, just out to show off in front of his buddies.

That being said, I never would have let that guy get within 20 feet of me. As soon as he started to advance, in a threatening mode as you said he was, you do as rock_jock indicated:
1. (if you have time, if not go to step 2) get a grip on your gun, start carefully backing away and give the command to 'STOP!'.
2. If he continues to advance, draw and give the command again 'STOP OR I WILL SHOOT!'.
3. If he continues to advance, plant your feet and it's front sight / press / front sight / press.

It's that or roll the dice. They came up good for you this time, but IMHO, and again I wasn't there, you got lucky. You just might be lucky to be alive.

If he halts at your command, order him and his buddies to the ground and wait for the cops. This is when you need to have your cell phone: call 911 and tell the dispatcher to inform the responding officers that you have the slimes at gunpoint. When the cops show up, they will most likely draw on you. Do what they say. ]

I'm speechless that neither the cops, DA or the landlord are willing to go to the mat with this. That's insane.

- Gabe

PS: Again, armchair quaterbacking. You made it out all right, and you didn't have to shoot anybody. Everything else is just speculation.
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Old August 8, 2002, 05:57 PM   #16
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I need to buy a digital video cam.
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Old August 8, 2002, 06:02 PM   #17
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A dicey situation handled reasonably well, although I believe that letting the guy get that close would be considered a tactical error by most if not all firearms tactics instructors.

I wouldn't be as keen to shoot as some on this thread because given the dynamics of the situation you described, life could get very difficult for you if you shoot someone who is unarmed and a minority (sorry, but that's just reality). Although disparity of force clearly existed in this case, that wouldn't matter when various "community leaders" daily paint you as a racist killer in the evening news.

Personally, if I felt genuinely threatened, I'd have retreated to my apartment. If the car was in view of the windows or balcony, I would have videotaped or photographed any further vandalism to the car, if I had a camera. You'd be covered by your insurance, which is cheaper than going broke fighting legal and civil battles for the next 10 years.

The reason I would retreat to the apartment is strictly legal: if they pursued me into the apartment, I am on virtually unassailable legal ground, and would not hesitate to employ lethal force. You will also be less likely to be painted as a vigilante white supremecist by the media.
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Old August 8, 2002, 06:08 PM   #18
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rock_jock.............I have been through almost exactly what Skyhawk has experienced. In a perfect world you could shoot these scumbags and bag em for sanitary reasons, an put em in the trash. Instead our govrnment moves them next door, pays their way, and sides with them in all disputes.

I see it happening in my new niegherhood of three years. A burglary next door last month, broken booze bottles in the street, all new nieghbors come with 5 destructive, unsuppervised baggy pants kids, and a pitbull. Three years ago spittin on the sidewalk was the worst crime in the area.
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Old August 8, 2002, 06:22 PM   #19
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Skyhawk...I think you handled it well. I also support Blackhawk's observations. At the very least, they know that you won't back down and I think that's a good sign. Scum like those guys probably prefer to pick on those whom they can scare.

On another point, had you drawn and / or fired on these punks, it sounds like there were too many of them. Those Corpus punks are probably armed.

If he had hit you or threatened to kill you while slobbering in your face, I would likely retaliate.
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Old August 8, 2002, 06:41 PM   #20
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Well, as CCW folks crisis management is probably the toughest part. "when do i draw" is hard to answer. I think I would have handled things similar. One thing I learned in my "training" was to keep an object between you and your threat, maybe try to keep him on the other side of your truck or another vehicle. If he comes around at you move to keep the object between you.

If you get backed in, you almost have no choice - draw!
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Old August 8, 2002, 06:46 PM   #21
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Skyhawk:

You did OK. Never ever depend upon the cops to do anything other than take a report. They will not be there when you need them and they will not act on your behalf unless they SEE something illegal take place.

Never ever let some thug get in your zone. Next time shoot the sucker in the eyeballs with MACE.

Then call the cops and tell them you were assaulted and feared for your life.

Undoubtedly, the perp being a macho man will come back for more eventually as these kind only understand one thing... pain.

Never show fear. Do what you have to do. It is going to be an all out war until the perps figure out that it is easier to go do their duty somewhere else.

Call the cops often....you will be "logging" the times they responded and why...this will be valuable to your lawyer. It will look good to the jury when you need them.

Remember to log every little thing that you do.
Play to the jury.
The same jury that will be trying you when you have to shoot the SOB.

Be cool. Be patient. These geniuses always screw up.
Its just a matter of time...
always be armed...mentally and physically...
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Old August 8, 2002, 08:39 PM   #22
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The keys in the hand...

depending on how they were being held can be a weapon.

If they were being held and one would hold them to scratch the paint of a car, (with the keys protruding out between the fingers) is a weapon of suggestion for women to use to defend themselves. Keys held this way can do a lot of damage.

While reading your post that is was stood out for me as being a deciding factor for action.

IMHO you were very lucky.
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Old August 8, 2002, 08:42 PM   #23
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You screwed up by confronting them.
You screwed up by not having an alternative force option ie: OC spray.
You screwed up by allowing him to get in your face.
How not to screw up? Confront them only after the Police arrive.
If its you and them only, inside 21' if a firm STOP doesn't work, its OC spray time, as I retreat, if the OC doesn't work, then its time to up the force, to pistol if neccessary.
Jumping straight from, YOU initiating the confrontation, to YOU shooting one of them will look very bad for YOU.
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Old August 8, 2002, 10:08 PM   #24
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Quote:
You screwed up by confronting them.
I emphatically disagree. There are certainly risks that one faces by a confrontation, but this was very clearly a case of property protection. Every individual must weigh the potential property damage and or loss against the potential legal difficulties and come to their own personal choice about when it is right to confront a perpetrator. However for my money, I don’t cower to thugs. Hiding in the house while I watch them “vandalize” my property is nothing more than tacit submission to the thugs and their actions. We need more honorable citizens to actually take a stand against wrongdoing.
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Old August 8, 2002, 10:31 PM   #25
RenegadeX
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I do not understand how no arrests were made, when you were a direct witness to the crime. So basically, they can vandalize your vehicle day in, day out, and nothing will be done unless an LEO is an eyewitness?
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