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Old November 26, 2008, 12:14 PM   #1
Sparks2112
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Encounter In Wal-Mart parking lot

A repost of something I put up on ohioccwforums.org today.

So, two nights ago my wife (5 1/2 months pregnant) and I were at the Wal-mart Super Center, on Colerain Ave. right by Ronald Reagan Highway for those of you in Ohio, trying to pick up a couple of things for a photo shoot we had the next day.

Anyway, we come out of the store and it's about 11:30 pm. from my 7-8:30 o'clock position I catch some movement and see a guy in an over sized parka kind of moving our direction at about 30-40 yards out. Almost as soon as I notice him (and probably right about when he knows I've noticed him) he shouts something like "Hey can I talk to you guys for a second." At this point my wife notices him and moves from my left side, where the guy was approaching from to my right side away from the guy (I was really happy with her that she did this without being told seeing as I previously thought teaching her to think tactically was impossible.)

I stop, turn to place him at my 12 o'clock, sit down the two bags I had in my weak side hand on the pavement and say "No, you can't." At this point my hands are at my sides and I'm just trying to relax and take everything in in case something actually does happen; i.e. which direction am I moving us, where's the nearest cover, where's the nearest concealment, etc...

He stops for a second and literally turned his head to the side (if you own a dog you know what I'm talking about) like he couldn't figure out that I just said no, and stopped moving. After a second of sizing me and my obviously pregnant wife up he started moving towards us again closing to about 20-25 yards at a fast walk/trot. At this point I moved my coat out of the way, held it back with my strong side arm, and put my hand on my still holstered gun. I carry iwb in an MTAC and still had my cover shirt over top of it, so at this point I'm just indexing with my hand to make sure I know where it's at. Left hand was on the surefire 6P in my coat pocket.

At this point I see the gentleman stop and really look hard at where my hands are at. He looked up at me, down at my hands again, then back up and said "Hey forget it man." He turned around, and got in a sedan that was about 5-10 yards from his position, which I hadn't seen, that had been idling with it's lights off behind a large van. He drove off pretty quick, and my wife and I made it back to our car with no further incident.

So, pay attention guys. I don't think that would have gone well for me had he been able to sneak up on me the way he wanted to.
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Old November 26, 2008, 12:38 PM   #2
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Sounds like you had good situational awareness that night and it really paid off for you and the wife. For some reason being in store parking lots always puts me on 'alert', and it's even worse during the holidays.

I feel particularly vulnerable while I'm taking the kids out of their carseats or putting them back in while in parking lots. I've tried to explain to the wife that at least one of us should have 'their head on a swivel' keeping an eye out while loading or unloading the car but sometimes you get in a hurry and forget these things. I've told the wife to get into the van, close the doors and lock them before buckling up the kids if she is alone.
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Old November 26, 2008, 12:50 PM   #3
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Sounds like you did very well! Glad that nothing came of it - the BEST scenarios are the ones that never develop into scenarios.
Thanks for sharing it.
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Old November 26, 2008, 12:58 PM   #4
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Good job on your part from the sounds of it. You and your wife made it out safely and without having to fire, really couldn't ask for anything else. The holiday crime season is upon us for sure, everyone needs to be careful. The bank beside the closest Food Lion to me was on the news a couple nights ago 'cause a lady got held up at the ATM.

One note though, it might be prudent to reschedule shopping time.
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Old November 26, 2008, 01:17 PM   #5
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Good SA and good outcome I'd say.

Down here in NC we just had a local car-jacker who was beating a gal get clocked upside the head with a frozen turkey that bystanders took out of the grocery bag ...so yes it can and will happen anywhere.

Did you get a description of the vehicle, plate etc?

I have some "after" questions too if you dont mind..most along Grossman's book as well as other things gathered along the way.

Did you have any visual "issues" ie did you tunnel in on him? Did you scan at any point to assess for more BG's?

Did you perceive any adrenaline dump physically before/during/after?

Had you and your wife discussed previously what to do "if" or did she just instinctually move behind you?

I am in no way, shape or form picking apart your actions, on the contrary..I think you did a great job and am just curious.


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Old November 26, 2008, 01:53 PM   #6
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No guns came out, and everyone lived to tell about it. Nice work indeed.
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Old November 26, 2008, 01:56 PM   #7
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Good job on being aware and facing down the threat. I can totally see the guy moving his head side to side. I'm sure he didn't expect you to say no and I'm sure he is used to or expected compliance.

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Old November 26, 2008, 02:19 PM   #8
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Sounds like you did everything just about as I would have. I mean really, if you were lost at 11:30 at night would you pull into a WalMart and approach someone out in the parking lot to ask for directions? No, this guy was sizing you up. If he had gotten close enough & decided that you weren't a threat to him, something *would* have happened.

Some might say that you should have reported the incident, but I probably wouldn't have. When LEO showed up, he would have wanted an accurate description of the guy & his vehicle. I've been in a similar situation several times & about the only thing I could have identified in a lineup would be the guy's hands. This scenario would have been a waste of 20-60 minutes of everyone's time (depending on how long it took to get a LEO on the scene), although it might have made it easy for them to finger the guy trying to hold someone up at another location.

Another reason to report is that HE may have reported YOU. I would think that he didn't actually SEE your gun, but that wouldn't stop him from saying that you pulled one on him. In which case, you might have had several police cars surround you & run you into a curb while on your way home. It wouldn't have been until AFTER they got you & your wife out of the car & face down on the asphalt at gunpoint that you could have told your side of the story. In the latter scenario, it would have been a LONG night.

Depending on local attitude and even though you didn't "brandish" your weapon, just preparing to might have been frowned upon (if he had continued his approach, you would have had no choice but to draw & you had not identified that he was armed). I know, it gets sticky no matter what you do/did/would do.

Again, I think that you did what any reasonable person would have done.
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Old November 26, 2008, 02:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
One note though, it might be prudent to reschedule shopping time.
We're night people because of work schedules, so, not much chance of that happening.


Quote:
Did you get a description of the vehicle, plate etc?
Not that would have been any good. he drove away VERY fast, and I wasn't expecting a car (didn't know one was there.) Also the parking lot at this particular store was rather dim.

Quote:
Did you have any visual "issues" ie did you tunnel in on him? Did you scan at any point to assess for more BG's?
I feel like I was doing a pretty good stevey wonder as far as my recollection goes. I didn't tunnel on him or anything of that nature though I did find myself prepping for my draw and shot(s). Kind of like pre-staging/imagining it in my head, "right hand clear garment, combat grip, draw away from body to not snag on anything, light from pocket, breathing, front sight etc... etc...

Quote:
Did you perceive any adrenaline dump physically before/during/after?
Heart rate and breath rate certainly kicked up quite a bit, I know I had to physically make myself breath slowly during. Also I got EXTREMELY cold in the space of a few seconds of the beginning of the encounter. Once I made it to the car and had driven away I was shaking very badly, teeth chattering, stomach cramps, etc...

Quote:
Had you and your wife discussed previously what to do "if" or did she just instinctually move behind you?

Instinctually. It actually made me rather emotional after the fact that when she felt threatened she automatically looked to me that way. I know it sounds silly, I just hadn't had it brought home in that way prior to this. Really reminded me of what my job(s) as a husband is/are.
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Old November 26, 2008, 02:28 PM   #10
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outstanding.

thanks brother...im glad it turned out as well as it did!
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Old November 26, 2008, 02:33 PM   #11
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Sounds like you did everything just about as I would have. I mean really, if you were lost at 11:30 at night would you pull into a WalMart and approach someone out in the parking lot to ask for directions? No, this guy was sizing you up. If he had gotten close enough & decided that you weren't a threat to him, something *would* have happened.
Kind of the feeling I had.

Quote:
Some might say that you should have reported the incident, but I probably wouldn't have. When LEO showed up, he would have wanted an accurate description of the guy & his vehicle. I've been in a similar situation several times & about the only thing I could have identified in a lineup would be the guy's hands. This scenario would have been a waste of 20-60 minutes of everyone's time (depending on how long it took to get a LEO on the scene), although it might have made it easy for them to finger the guy trying to hold someone up at another location.
Honestly the main reason I didn't was because I didn't want to add any stress onto my wife which may or may not have affected the baby. As it was she had NO IDEA how serious that situation actually was. Her only comment was "That was kind of odd huh?".

Quote:
Another reason to report is that HE may have reported YOU. I would think that he didn't actually SEE your gun, but that wouldn't stop him from saying that you pulled one on him. In which case, you might have had several police cars surround you & run you into a curb while on your way home. It wouldn't have been until AFTER they got you & your wife out of the car & face down on the asphalt at gunpoint that you could have told your side of the story. In the latter scenario, it would have been a LONG night.
He hadn't seen which car was ours before he left. So I felt pretty ok.

Quote:
Depending on local attitude and even though you didn't "brandish" your weapon, just preparing to might have been frowned upon (if he had continued his approach, you would have had no choice but to draw & you had not identified that he was armed). I know, it gets sticky no matter what you do/did/would do.
The nice thing about being with a 5 1/2 month pregnant woman in Ohio which recognizes the life of the fetus is that not only does your duty to retreat becomes almost non-existant, you can assume pretty much anybody poses a deadly threat to the unborn child.

Not only that, this guy was 6'5" 300-350 lbs +. I'm a big guy and he made me feel small, so, I think unarmed a jury would have still considered him a deadly threat even if I was on my own.

Quote:
Again, I think that you did what any reasonable person would have done.
Thanks!
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Old November 26, 2008, 02:42 PM   #12
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Good description of events, including the physical and emotional respones that you experienced. Ya done good - and thanks for sharing.

I feel most vulnerable on those trips to the store after dark when I'm alone. It is not practical for my wife to accompany me on every shopping trip - nor am I always able to accompany her. No matter how aware we are when going to the car - there is always that minute when you must turn your back and bend over to load the groceries.

My brother's MIL (86 years old) was recently punched in the head and knocked to the ground for a purse grab at just such a moment (She was bending over at the rear door to get her purse from the back seat).

Any suggestions?
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Old November 26, 2008, 02:45 PM   #13
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I dont know

Howdy,
I'm glad it worked out for you.
I have read an re-read the post and just dont see the threat.
I hope all of you dont see the need to display over a guy asking a question.
Maybe he was a bad guy. I just dont see where he disclosed it?
Was it the odd hour? You were there.
It reads that he never got closer than 75 ft.
I dont know what you did was right or wrong. I was not there.
I dont think I would have reacted in the same way from what you have told us.
Thanks
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Old November 26, 2008, 02:48 PM   #14
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You know doubt stopped a potential crime from happening. Neither one of you became a name on a police report, a statistic. I'm glad your pregnant wife was not alone. Good job.
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Old November 26, 2008, 02:56 PM   #15
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Howdy,
I'm glad it worked out for you.
I have read an re-read the post and just dont see the threat.
I hope all of you dont see the need to display over a guy asking a question.
Maybe he was a bad guy. I just dont see where he disclosed it?
Was it the odd hour? You were there.
It reads that he never got closer than 75 ft.
I dont know what you did was right or wrong. I was not there.
I dont think I would have reacted in the same way from what you have told us.
Thanks
Mike
Approaching at that Time of night, general attitude he had, place, MO of violent criminals in our area, etc...

In my mind the main thing he did that REALLY clued me in was continue to approach after I had replied that no he couldn't talk to us. There wasn't an entrance to the Wal-mart in our direction, nor anything else he could have wanted, just us.

Having a waiting vehicle idling in a position of concealment with it's lights off and the speed in which he left makes me think that I read his intent rather well.

IMHO.
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Old November 26, 2008, 02:57 PM   #16
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Excellent job...most people wouldn't have noticed him until he was within five yards of them.

Maybe he was BG...maybe he wasnt. But there is absolutely no law that says you have to have a conversation with him...and by letting that guy know right away that you weren't interested in having that conversation with him was just prudent.

And excellent job at not mincing your words. Direct language works for every one.
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Old November 26, 2008, 03:25 PM   #17
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Good job of situational awareness. you did good. What could you have done if you were not armed? Could you make it to your car or back to the store? Thank God for ccw laws so you could protect your family.
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Old November 26, 2008, 03:29 PM   #18
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Good job of situational awareness. you did good. What could you have done if you were not armed? Could you make it to your car or back to the store? Thank God for ccw laws so you could protect your family.
Well, I could have maybe slowed him down enough that my wife could maybe have made it back in the store. That's a lot of maybes.

Either way, if it had gone that direction and I wasn't armed I KNOW I would have been seriously injured, at a minimum.
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Old November 26, 2008, 03:41 PM   #19
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A few weeks ago, my wife and I came out of Target with our groceries. As we got to our van, a woman approached us. From about 40’ away, she asked something neither of us could understand. My wife immediately turned to look behind us. I was so proud of her!

I put my left hand out, palm toward the woman and quickly checked 6, too. I didn’t let her get close. She was holding something that might have been a cell phone, but I couldn’t be sure. She wanted directions (it’s always directions or the time) and I told her we couldn’t help. Her accent was so bad we didn’t know what she was asking, anyway.

Hate to be rude, but I hate to give someone a chance to take me. A man and woman in their 60s, well dressed, nice wheels = target.
But this is Florida. The ”target” just might be packing two guns and 43 rounds of ammo!
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Old November 26, 2008, 10:11 PM   #20
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He disclosed he was a BG when he continued his approach, then observed the target was armed for *self defense*, and confirmed it when he fled. What isn't to see?
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Old November 26, 2008, 10:26 PM   #21
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"There are none so blind as those who will not see..."

Great job, and a happy ending.
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Old November 26, 2008, 10:40 PM   #22
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Well done Sparks!

That increased respiration/adrenaline dump? That was a good thing. If you'd gotten in a fight, you would have been wanting that O2!

Requisite Monday morning quarterbacking: - and this is something I'm trying to ingrain in myself - go ahead and get that flashlight on him right away. I think you were right in not clearing leather yet, but I think we are all a little to worried about being "rude" and lighting a questionable petitioner up. We should all have "tactical" grade flashlights, and should put them in play as soon as things start to deviate from Baseline Mayberry Standard.

I don't think we'll find too much dissension that once the gun comes out, the cops need to be called, but lighting somebody up hasn't gotten to that point yet. I was in an almost identical "interview" a while back and kick myself for not getting the light on him right away. Make a vow with me to make it a habit to get that flashlight out at the first sign of hink.

You done good there Family Man!

Say your piece tomorrow to the Big Guy and have a great holiday knowing that your wife and child are in good hands.

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Old November 26, 2008, 10:46 PM   #23
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Reschedule your shopping time??

What the hell is wrong with this country anyway. I will shop anytime I need something and will not be bullied into "daylight hours only" to go to the store.
If this same thing happened to me, I would do just like he did and end the confrontation before something bad has to go down. The predators out there are counting on you to fear them and obey their demands. That doesn't mean you have to attack anyone for asking you a question but at that time of night and the manor in which he was approching the man and his wife, its best to meet the threat face to face than have them come up behind you and take you down. No telling what happens then. Either way, its best that you tell the story.
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Old November 26, 2008, 10:47 PM   #24
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At this point I see the gentleman stop and really look hard at where my hands are at.
great job, and I'm obviously glad that your family is safe ...but, honestly, somehow I don't think that you were dealing with a gentleman
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Old November 26, 2008, 10:58 PM   #25
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Good job! It's always smart to take a quick look behind you during a social encounter. Often the real danger from predators comes from behind.
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