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Old June 11, 2008, 12:59 PM   #1
divemedic
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Aftermath of a shooting (my story)

In the summer of 1991, Virginia Beach, VA. I was involved in an incident in which shots were fired. I did not fire them, and witnesses misidentified me as the shooter. I am posting this story to illustrate what can and did happen.

I lived on the end of a dead end street near Newtown Road in Virginia Beach. MY neighbors had gotten clearance from the city to close off the street and have a block party. There was a lot of beer drinking and BBQ. I had been out at the movies with my (then) wife. I had NOT been drinking, nor had my wife. We arrived home at about 10:00 pm, and found some of the neighbors still partying. The wife stayed out to talk to the neighbors, but the BBQ was all gone, so I went in the house to make a sandwich.

When I came back outside, I found her and my next door neighbor having a loud argument with a man I had never seen before. I walked over in time to hear the man threaten to strike my wife. I walked over and asked what the problem was. The man told me that he was going to beat up this "***hole and his **** girlfriend." I said that I didn't know what the problem was, but that he should not refer to wife that way, and that he needed to leave. I told him that we had called the cops, and that if he left right away, I would forget what he looked like when the cops arrived.

He told me that if I didn't get out of the way, I was gonna get it too. That was when I noticed that he was holding a baseball bat. Seeing a weapon immediately changed my mindset. I drew my weapon (at the time I carried a S&W 4506) and ordered him to drop the bat. Still holding the bat, he turned around and walked away, and told me he was a part of "The Bayside Arms Posse" and that he was going to come back and show me whose town this was.

We called the cops. 15 minutes later, they arrived, and assured me that they would handle it by driving the area (Bayside Arms Apartments)where the gang hangs out. They left.

A few minutes later, there was a neighbor from a few doors down knocking at my back door. It seems there was 6 or 7 miscreants going door to door looking for me. As my wife again called the police, I grabbed my shotgun (870 Wingmaster with 19 inch barrel and an extended 8 round mag tube) and opened the door. I racked the shotgun, and immediately heard someone yell "They have guns, let's get out of here!" They jumped in a car with no license plate, and fled with their lights off. I did not see them very well.

When the police arrived (ten minutes later) they searched the neighborhood, and then they left, promising to make more frequent patrols. My neighbor came over, and we both agreed that the idiots would return. We hid in the street armed, hiding among the parked cars, waiting for them. As it turned out, we didn't have to wait long...
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Old June 11, 2008, 01:13 PM   #2
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Just after midnight, two cars full of people pulled down the street. The car closest to me had 4 teenagers in the car. It was later determined that the car closest to me contained one female and three males. They were all known gang members with lengthy arrest records for various offenses including drug offenses and weapons charges. One of them had been arrested 22 times before his 17th birthday.

I didn't know any of this. All I knew was that a car load of people who had threatened violence was 10 feet from me, and the front seat passenger had what appeared to be a long gun in his hand. (It turned out to be an SKS- at the time, one could be bought for $95) I ran to the car and stuck my shotgun into the window of the car. I said something along the lines of "If anyone moves, I will kill you."

I then heard a shot. I looked up in time to see the other car peeling away, and my neighbor lying on the ground. The car closest to me sped away. As they drove away, another neighbor (who HAD been drinking) ran out of his house and fired a shotgun at the car. (It was a 12 ga Mossberg 500 with a 3" magnum barrel) I dragged my downed neighbor into my house to find my wife on the floor of the kitchen, talking to the police.

It turns out that my neighbor dove when he saw a handgun, and was not hit when the shot was fired.

They arrived less than 5 minutes later, but it seemed much longer. We told them our story. While we were doing so, the car came back. This teens were all unarmed, and claimed that they were sitting at the light when I shot at them for no reason. They showed a pattern of holes in the driver's side door of their car.

I pointed out that the pellet count in their car was too high for my 2 3/4" shotgun, and that they could not have happened they way they said, as the bullet holes were in the wrong side of the car. The cops told me not to tell them how to do their job. I was photographed, and my guns taken. An SKS was found in the trunk of the teens' car, which the cops also took. more to follow...
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Last edited by divemedic; June 11, 2008 at 01:51 PM. Reason: clarity of events; poor spelling
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Old June 11, 2008, 01:30 PM   #3
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Three days later, I got a call from a detective with VA Beach police. He said that he had a warrant for my arrest, and that if I came in that afternoon, he would get me released on my own recognizance. He said if he had to look for me, the bond would be high, considering the charges. I was stunned. I drove to the police station, where I was arrested for brandishing, discharging a firearm within city limits, and aggravated battery.

I went to see the attorney that helped me get my CWL (he had been recommended by the NRA) and we went to the prosecutor's office and filed charges ourselves against the teens for aggravated battery (the cops refused to- they said that they had not seen them brandishing a weapon).

When we got to the court, it turned out that the tests on my shotgun did indeed show that my shotgun had not been fired, nor had any other weapon that the police had taken that night. There was no evidence of GSR on my hands. However, the witnesses (teens in the car) all testified that they had seen me shooting.

Then, the attorneys asked the judge if they could have a recess, and it was granted. My attorney talked to the others, and then came over to me and said that the other side had offered to drop the charges against me, if we agreed to drop our charges against them. We agreed, and so did they. It all went away. More to come...
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Old June 11, 2008, 01:42 PM   #4
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I don't know what's coming next, but the best response, in my humble opinion, would have been to have killed all the teens while they were armed, when the opportunity arose. Wouldn't be too much discussion by the teens afterwards.
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Old June 11, 2008, 02:01 PM   #5
divemedic
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(Alleykat- my thoughts exactly- the experience taught me that)

For weeks after that, gang members would sit outside of my house, watching us through binoculars. We called the cops daily. I still had no weapons, as mine had not yet been returned. They had plenty, I guess bought on the street. One day, my neighbor came over and told me he knew how to put a stop to the harassment.

He stood in my second floor bedroom, about 10 feet back from the window, looking back at the gangsters through the scope of his Remington 700. After a minute or two, the one with the binoculars did a double take, and they got in their car and left.

The harassment continued, and my wife did not want to stay home alone. We moved a few miles down the road.

Lessons learned:

- I should not have allowed the bat wielding teen to leave AND/OR
- Once I saw a weapon (the SKS) in the teen's hands in the car, I should have shot him. Letting either of them leave, taking with them the evidence to prove me correct, was a mistake.
- When the police arrive, keep quiet until you have an attorney there. There is not anything you can say that will help you that won't wait and help you after the attorney gets there. You can, however, say something stupid or make a minor mistake that will come back to haunt you.
- When the cops get there, they will likely take all of your guns, not just the ones they think were involved.
- Lawyer up. Don't try to handle things yourself. There is an old saying: "A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge." I was amazed at how my attorney knew everyone, and at how he got things done that I couldn't. Well worth the money.
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Old June 11, 2008, 02:07 PM   #6
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Here is a link to what I believe to be one of the members of that gang. (I googled the gang name, he was the first hit)

Here is another link about them.

Bad news.
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Last edited by divemedic; June 11, 2008 at 04:50 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old June 11, 2008, 02:34 PM   #7
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It is impossible to know, until we are placed in a similar situation, exactly how we would react to those circumstances.

...

That said, if I may make one suggestion for a "Lesson Learned": Don't EVER, EVER point a loaded gun at someone unless you are justified and WILLING to shoot and KILL them. If you ever DO point a loaded gun at someone, and you ARE justified, shoot and kill them, no questions asked.

Your legal trouble seems to have occurred when you "brandished" (pointed at someone) a loaded gun, without proper justification (i.e., you were in not in actual fear of imminent death or severe bodily injury, but rather, you were "lying in wait" with a loaded gun, stalking the gang-bangers). This was a bad decision, and one for which you should have learned an important lesson.

Pointing a loaded gun at someone is, legally, "use of deadly force." Don't do it unless you are justified in pulling the trigger, and if you can legally pull the trigger, then PULL IT.
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Old June 11, 2008, 03:09 PM   #8
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Interesting theory, but that requires one of two things:

Waiting until the weapon is actually pointed at you before taking action, or shooting an individual who stops taking aggressive action once they see that you are capable of meeting force with force.

In the above situation, that would have required me to either wait in my home, knowing that the shooters would return. This would have given a distinct advantage to the aggressors, and allowed them to attack at their own leisure, perhaps even after I was asleep..

Instead, I choose to meet them away from my home, in a situation where I chose, and allowed me to keep them away from my wife and kids. It also allowed me to retain a tactical advantage, which I needed all I could get. The police were (judging by their previous response times) 10 minutes away. If I had allowed 6-8 attackers to get out of their cars, what would my tactical situation be in taking on 6-8 attackers, as opposed to taking on two car loads before they could exit their vehicles, and separate?

Since I made that choice, the only option left to me was to shoot a person who ceased his attack as soon as I pointed a weapon at him. Would you suggest that I shoot a person who drops his weapon as soon as I point my gun at him?

Difficult tactical AND legal situation. I maintain that if I had shot the bat-boy, the situation would have been over at that point.
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Old June 11, 2008, 03:28 PM   #9
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Unfortunately I have to agree with some of the other post. Owning a firearm is a great responsibility and your fighting criminal teens with immaturity. If someone comes into your neighborhood trying to act like a tough guy with a bat, you call the cops. You don't stand around and arge with him, or say you will not turn him in to the cops if he leaves. If he swings or threatens to kill you with the bat, you shoot him dead. If a gang of teens are knocking door to door lookijng for you, you don't go outside with a shotgun looking for them, you call the cops, if they approch you on your property and threaten you with guns, you kill them. It is that simple.

Still gangs are a PITA and I'm sorry that you were forced to move because of them.
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Old June 11, 2008, 03:32 PM   #10
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Sorry to hear about your troubles, divemedic.

I'm glad to hear that it all sounds sorted out finally though. Very hairy, very frightening and unpleasant regardless of the outcome. Good story to read and absorb opinions from though.

Do you think the gang is done with you at this point?
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Old June 11, 2008, 03:34 PM   #11
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Yep, it is easy to be an armchair general afterwards: who knows what I would have done in the same situation.
I don't know, I really don't. And that's because I can't get the atmosphere, the nuances, the 'flavour' of the thing without being there.

I can say (in the comfort of my chair, with no threat around and no wife and no dependents), that I suspect I would have waited inside the house and not gone outside (the time they came back in the car).

These little arse-hats in their gangs are nothing but vermin in my opinion. They should make it legal to exterminate them.

By the way, divemedic, one thing that is quite useful if you have a vehicle or a group hanging around in the street and you want to get rid of them, is a match-box bomb. I don't know if you have tried those before, but I have found that they are quite good. I suppose you could call it a home-made firework. You throw it, it bounces off the road and usually explodes 1 or 2 metres off the ground.
Not sure on the legality of it (the components are matches, matchboxes and tape).
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Old June 11, 2008, 03:43 PM   #12
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divemedic

Not sure what your situation is now and 1991 is long ago but that neighborhood sounds like a great place to be from......preferably far away.

S-
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Old June 11, 2008, 04:47 PM   #13
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amazing story and some wisdom to be gleaned... thanks for sharing your story
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Old June 11, 2008, 04:48 PM   #14
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At the time I moved in, it was not that bad, and I was stationed in Norfolk, at the NOB base 10 miles away. As a married E-5 with 2 kids, it was difficult to afford better. The neighborhood has gotten MUCH worse in the 17 years that have passed since I left.

Offering to forget him for the cops if he left was my attempt (unsuccessful) to defuse the situation without using a weapon.

As far as the above posters who suggested that I call the police, I did. Three times. Ten minute plus response times each time.

Try an experiment. If you have friends who own paintball guns, airsoft, water guns, something similar, get 6 of them to try and attack you and two dolls, simulating your kids in your home (you can simulate them kicking in doors, etc) See what they can do to you and your simulated family in 10 minutes. I can tell you that I learned from this experience that 10 minutes is forever.

Something else that I discovered:
Sitting at home in front of the computer, it is easy to make the decision to pull the trigger. I learned by experience that a host of thoughts goes through your head.
- Adrenaline and fear
- the thought that you are the only one between them and your family
- The worry about pulling the trigger and what it will do to your life. Not only the hesitation at taking a life, but the hesitation at whether or not it is going to be a "good shoot" and going to jail.
- I reran the situation in my mind and in my nightmares for months afterwards. You will too, if you are unlucky enough to be in the same place.
- One of my neighbors told me that I should have "shot the gun out of his hand." Think that is stupid? Remember, people like that are going to be your jury. The prosecution will see to it that no gunnies are on the jury, thanks to voir dire.

In the end, here is what I decided:
I didn't go to jail. I didn't get sued. Judgments in Virginia can be good for as long as 20 years. I could still be paying them. I was not hurt, my neighbors were not hurt, and my family wasn't hurt. Sure, the "bad guy" got away, but so what? My mission is to protect me and mine, not save the world.

All in all, I don't see how the situation could have turned out much better.
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Old June 11, 2008, 05:14 PM   #15
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So, what happened to your neighbor who actually did shoot? And why did you edit out the part about waiting in the bushes for them?
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Old June 11, 2008, 05:22 PM   #16
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I guess there really is a place in civilized society for hand grenades! Only solution for gangsters is destruction.
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Old June 11, 2008, 05:34 PM   #17
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Nothing happened to the neighbor who fired the shot. The cops never even took his name, picture, or weapon.

I didn't edit out the part where we waited for them. It is in my first post. Read:

Quote:
We hid in the street armed, hiding among the parked cars, waiting for them.
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Old June 11, 2008, 05:35 PM   #18
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Sounds like it worked out well to me. A dangerous situation but nobody was seriously injured or killed, and the good guys stayed out of jail. That's about the best ending that you can tack onto a situation like this. All of us probably would have reacted differently in one way or another, but you can't argue with the results. Thanks for telling us about it, I'm sure it was stressful as hell.
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Old June 11, 2008, 07:41 PM   #19
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This situation is crazy, but not surprising. Virginia Beach police are famous for treating legally armed citizens like criminals and criminals like fine citizens. It is little wonder that gangs of sub-humans think they can get away with anything the want.

I don't have any idea how to make Virginia Beach a safe or sane place to live. If I lived there, I would move. Leave the whole town to the goblins, and when it becomes bad enough to sink the tourist business, maybe then something will be done.
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Old June 11, 2008, 09:15 PM   #20
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Amazing. Thank you for sharing.
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Old June 11, 2008, 09:28 PM   #21
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Great story...glad to see it turned out the best way for you and your family.

Three questions...

First, next time you break up a story so suspenseful like that, let me know so I don't start reading it at work and then have to finish when I got home. J/K

Second, how long after the incident did you receive your guns back?

Oh and did the Don't Talk to the Police thread cause you to inform us of your story?
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Old June 11, 2008, 09:33 PM   #22
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divemedic, while I understand your thread is in response to the Don't Talk To The Police! thread, it's actually more in line with Tactics and Training.

We're moving there, but I'll leave a redirection link for a couple of days, so everyone who wants, can find and read.

ETA: Yeah... What happened with your firearms?
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Last edited by Al Norris; June 11, 2008 at 09:36 PM. Reason: added question after the move
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Old June 12, 2008, 07:49 AM   #23
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Quote:
I maintain that if I had shot the bat-boy, the situation would have been over at that point.
You would have had just as much trouble if not more from the rest of the gang had you killed a member. From what I hear they always try to avenge a shooting of one of their own. Your home would have been riddled with 762x39 in a drive by at the least.

The best thing you did was to move. Protecting yourself and family from people who want to kill you is nearly impossible. You can't protect 24/7 with work and sleep. They have many members and all the time in the world.

Great read thanks.
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Old June 12, 2008, 08:59 AM   #24
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To be legally entitled to shoot, you must feel you are in IMMINENT danger of loss of life or grave bodily injury.

There are three criteria to be filled for this to be true.

The attacker must have:
1. Ability - Is he physically and mentally capable of carrying out his stated or assumed actions?
2. Opportunity - Is he close enough to carry out his stated or assumed actions?
3. Intent - Is he advancing in a threatening manner?

If all three of these are satisfied, shoot. Shoot until the threat is negated, then shop shooting.

For example: Man 30 feet away, advancing with a raised baseball bat in hand.
Draw your weapon. Aim. "Stop or I'll shoot!"
If the individual stops or turns back, reholster your weapon. Continue to observe.
If he continues to advance, shoot until he stops advancing.

For example: Man standing still 30 feet away with a baseball held down by his leg - NOT an imminent threat. In this case, you may not be legal to even draw your weapon. In some states, drawing your weapon is "use of deadly force". It can also be "brandishing" and/or a "menacing threat" or "assault".
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Old June 12, 2008, 10:06 AM   #25
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divemedic,

I'm not saying that what you did (hiding in the street, armed, waiting on the gang-bangers to return) wasn't "tactically" smart. I'm simply saying that it was illegal. In this country, it is illegal to "lay in wait" for someone. And, by hiding in the cars on the street, armed, intent on shooting at the gang-bangers if they returned to shoot at you, you broke the law.

The old-world legal theory behind the "lay in wait" prohibition is that you should not go looking for a fight. If you know trouble is coming, you're supposed to leave the area, if you can, and alert the authorities.

I understand, it's your home, and you shouldn't have to leave. But, by going out into the street, armed, and hiding and waiting for the guys to come back, you went looking for trouble. And, when trouble came, you ran up to them and pointed a gun at them. In other words, you ran up to a parked car so that you could use deadly force against a car full of people. Although you may have feared that the people in the car might have "eventually" opened fire on you, resulting in "eventual" harm, you clearly were not in fear of "imminent" death or serious bodily injury, or you would have either run away, or shot them. Because you believed you could "take them alive," and you tried to do so, you were unjustified in doing what you did.

Sorry, that's just the facts. Having a CCL doesn't give you an outright license to "enforce" the law. It only gives you the right to shoot people who are presently trying to shoot you.
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