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Old September 28, 2010, 04:49 PM   #1
Southern_guy
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Close call with LEOs

A few nights ago, I was driving back from a friend's party at 1:00 AM along a back country road. There was a pistol lying on the seat next to me.
On the way, I felt the call of nature rather hard, and pulled my car off the road into a lumber company trail. I put handgun under the seat, locked the car and walked into the woods.
A little later, I heard a car door slamming, and saw a glimmer of blue and red lights behind me. It was soon apparent that two police officers were investigating my car. I began walking back to the car. It was then that I stepped on a stick, which made me realize that the officers did not know someone was behind him. One of the officers spun around at the noise, and unholstered his sidearm. I froze in place. Neither officer could see me, but it was obvious that they were spooked.

I was scared to say anything, out of fear that one might flinch and discharge his weapon at the direction of my voice. When he moved around the headlights, I caught a clear look at one's face, and recognized him.
After a moment of tension, I slowly and steadily moved behind a large tree. Then, I called to him: "Officer *****, don't shoot, it's ------!" He told me to walk out slowly. When I did so, the other lowered his sidearm. I explained what had happened, and he told me that I was near a lumber company "outpost" that had been robbed several times by methheads, leading them to pull over and check my parked car. They'd spotted part of my handgun as well, which had unnerved them even more.
We then shared a bit of a nervous laugh at the scare, and went our separate ways.

Do you think I handled it well? What would you do or not do in a similar situation to avoid an incident?

Last edited by Southern_guy; September 28, 2010 at 05:06 PM.
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Old September 28, 2010, 05:15 PM   #2
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Hiding the pistol better would have been a good thing. Other than that it sounds like everything came off without a hitch
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Old September 28, 2010, 05:46 PM   #3
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Just a thought but, do you have a CCW? If you're traipsing out into the woods in the middle of the night to pee, why not carry your gun with you in a holster? What would you have done if it were not cops? What if it were the methheads and they were in the process of breaking into your car and stealing your gun?
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Old September 28, 2010, 06:50 PM   #4
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Nope, I think you handled it poorly.
Police don't just start blowing holes in the brush when they hear a stick snap or a voice in the woods in the circumstances you described.
The longer you waited to identify yourself verbally while staying hidden after you alerted them to your presence, the worse it looked & the more tension you created.
Fortunate for you that one of them knew you.
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Old September 28, 2010, 08:26 PM   #5
rickdavis81
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Were you drinking at the party? If so it was handled poorly because you had a firearm with you. If no drinking then I'd say it was handled ok.
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Old September 28, 2010, 09:48 PM   #6
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I think I would have deliberately made some obvious noise, then called out to them my name, I am unarmed and coming out of the woods. Then when I recognized one I could have used his name. I also agree with hardworker that concealing the gun thoroughly would have been the best idea, so as not to get them upset. Whether one is a cop, a soldier or a citizen, encountering someone in the dark woods is always spooky.
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Old September 28, 2010, 10:29 PM   #7
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To answer some questions, I had not been drinking at the party. I have a CCW, but since the party in question had involved a swimming pool and a hot tub, my attire was not exactly ideal for concealing a handgun. If it had been the methheads instead of police, I would indeed have been screwed.
In retrospect, I should have alerted the police more quickly, and taken the extra time to conceal that sucker deeper than I thought it needed (which was obviously not enough).
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Old September 28, 2010, 10:47 PM   #8
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Not nice to surprise bears and cops in the dark, they get a little adrenaline and this is a bad thing. Should have hollered out as soon as you saw them then come out making lots of noise so they would know exactly where you were. Gun rug and a blanket would have made the gun more secure and they wouldn't have been so spooked. I don't stick an unprotected gun under my car seat, there are things down there that I don't want to know about, strange things that have been accumulating for years and are sticky or scratchy.
What would you have done if you hadn't known the officer and he didn't know you.
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Old September 28, 2010, 11:14 PM   #9
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i'd have gotten out with lights/emerg flashers on, gone to the bathroom and been on my way. you're lucky you weren't shot.

it sounds like you thought you were in a movie.
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Old September 28, 2010, 11:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
you're lucky you weren't shot
Thats a sad excuse for a trained police officer (hypothesizing it werent his lucky day he "was shot"), if s/he were to shoot at something that made a sound somewhere out of sight.


To the OP, only thing i would have done is say something right away when you were approaching and they became aware/suspicious of your presence.

EDIT
Sounds like you already got it
Quote:
In retrospect, I should have alerted the police more quickly, and taken the extra time to conceal that sucker deeper than I thought it needed (which was obviously not enough).
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Old September 29, 2010, 01:11 AM   #11
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A "lumber company trail"?

How far did you walk in the woods? Here in GA, if I pulled off on a "lumber company trail", I'd just open the door, step out, and take care of business.

Sounds like you were being followed (suspicion of DUI, etc.), happened into something else (the thefts you mentioned), or maybe the officers had the same intentions.

As far as actual police officers discharging a firearm at the sound of your voice or movement, if that's a valid fear, then perhaps your local law enforcement needs to take a good hard look at their training.
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Old September 29, 2010, 07:16 AM   #12
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I would have done exactly as you had done. Just wondering what would have happened, though, if you didn't know one of the officers?
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Old September 29, 2010, 07:52 AM   #13
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Over a lot of years of traveling, I have made stops countless times in rural areas late at night for the same reason. For the life of me, I can't recall ever venturing or needing to venture more than 20 or 30 feet from my vehicle.

Quote:
On the way, I felt the call of nature rather hard, and pulled my car off the road into a lumber company trail. I put handgun under the seat, locked the car and walked into the woods.
Why on earth would you leave the safety of your vehicle to go into the woods at night and not take your firearm with you? What good is a pistol in a locked distant vehicle when you are caught with your pants down?

Quote:
A little later, I heard a car door slamming, and saw a glimmer of blue and red lights behind me. It was soon apparent that two police officers were investigating my car
Just how far had you ventured from your car that you didn't even hear the officers pull up? Wow.

Quote:
It was then that I stepped on a stick, which made me realize that the officers did not know someone was behind him. One of the officers spun around at the noise, and unholstered his sidearm. I froze in place. Neither officer could see me, but it was obvious that they were spooked.
Okay, this was pretty shortsighted on your part. It was night. You knew the officers were investigating your vehicle and you approaching them from behind out of the darkness without announcing yourself. Certainly if the officers were going to be ambushed at that remote location, approaching them from behind, out of the darkness, without announcing yourself would be one way to do it.

I would not say you were lucky you weren't shot, but your actions certainly escalated the tension of the situation considerably.

Quote:
Thats a sad excuse for a trained police officer (hypothesizing it werent his lucky day he "was shot"), if s/he were to shoot at something that made a sound somewhere out of sight.
Yes it would if the officer shot without being able to see his target. Then again, maybe it was because of the officers' good training that he wasn't shot, don't you think?
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Old September 29, 2010, 08:35 AM   #14
demigod
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I'd have shot you just for being from Louisiana! Just kidding.

I'm thinking that if I get out of my car to wander into the woods, my gun IS GOING WITH ME!
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Old September 29, 2010, 08:40 AM   #15
Dave P
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"I'd just open the door, step out, and take care of business."

Same here - I would not normally walk off into the woods. We talking #1 or #2 here??

I don't think we are getting the whole story.
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Old September 29, 2010, 08:55 AM   #16
CK Bigoldi
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I wouldn't have walked off in to the woods without my gun. Always be armed, especially in unfamiliar territory.

Quote:
you're lucky you weren't shot.
Why would they start shooting into the dark? That's just silly.
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Old September 29, 2010, 08:56 AM   #17
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Under the seat...

... not such a good place.

Easy to forget; hard to conceal; unprotected; possibly damaged by trash under seats (as noted by an earlier poster).

I use a Console Vault in my truck. Hidden in the center console, and it has a combo lock.

So, first, I wouldn't leave a gun under the seat, ever.

Second, I would definitely not walk up unannounced on unhappy looking cops; or on anybody, in a dark and secluded spot, for that matter. I'd have announced my presence immediately.

Live and learn.
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Old September 29, 2010, 09:33 AM   #18
Skans
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Geeeeeezzzz - the guy had to take a leak late at night. So, he pulled off onto a trail/dirt road where he thought he wouldn't be bothered to take care of business. He even thought to put his gun under his seat.

I can't believe some of the comments and criticisms about what the OP did! He didn't pull his gun on anyone; didn't "flash" his firearm; didn't leave it laying around; was completely unarmed when the cops confronted him. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He didn't get shot, didn't get arrested, and difused a tense situation with some nervous police officers.

Thinking back, I've probably picked much worse areas to whip out Johnny and take care of business......I'm sure I'm not the only one.
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Old September 29, 2010, 09:55 AM   #19
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Speaking as a girl, I'm always grateful when the guys take the time to walk out into the woods to do their business even after dark. It's just flat embarrassing to drive past a dude sprinkling his own tires, even if he's not facing traffic.

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Old September 29, 2010, 11:06 AM   #20
MLeake
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Skans...

... I don't think the call of nature is the major issue for any of the responses.

I think the main issue is that it would have been better to very overtly, but politely, announce his presence to the officers. His hesitation could have set a very high state of alert / threat mindset for them, given the circumstances. Something along the lines of, "Is there a problem, officers? I'll be right there," would have been a good idea. As others have asked, what if he had not known one of them? He'd set himself up to be looked at suspiciously.

The other issue for me is that it's not the best idea to leave a gun under the seat. Even without a gun vault, he should have been able to fit it in the glove compartment, or the trunk, where it could have been at least casually locked, and completely out of sight. (Not thinking cops, here, so much as smash and grabbers.)

The out of the way location made a smash and grab less likely, true, but even so it's not a very good habit to slide a gun under the seat.

As far as relieving oneself in the woods, I'm not sure I know anybody who hasn't. Not the problem at all.
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Old September 29, 2010, 11:14 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pax
It's just flat embarrassing to drive past a dude sprinkling his own tires, even if he's not facing traffic.
That's a rental or a buddy's car, we don't pee on our own tires.
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Old September 29, 2010, 11:43 AM   #22
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Old September 29, 2010, 03:21 PM   #23
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You did good. Better than my brother, we had left Sunset Speadway 1976, was Sunday night and warm, had the conv top down, brother stands up in the back seat and lets it rip. Cop sees us and we get pulled over, brother get handcuffed and ticketed for indecent exp and other things Seems it was also streaking season them days
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Old September 29, 2010, 04:56 PM   #24
bearone2
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thegoldenstate:

Quote:
you're lucky you weren't shot

Thats a sad excuse for a trained police officer (hypothesizing it werent his lucky day he "was shot"), if s/he were to shoot at something that made a sound somewhere out of sight.


you missed the point somewhere.

#1, i'm not a trained po and the op is lucky he didn't get shot by one of the po's.
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Old September 29, 2010, 07:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
Why would they start shooting into the dark? That's just silly.
It would be silly, but nobody really knows just how far or how well the police could see into the dark. They have their red and blues flashing. They may have intermittant and off color peeks into the darkness and as such be able to spot what they perceive as a threat. It could be a problem.

As the OP was approaching from behind out of the darkness, it could be perceived wrongly. That would be the likely direction of an attack.
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