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Old May 29, 2013, 11:07 PM   #1
kahrdriver11
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I think I was "approached"... What do you think?

I recently moved to Utah from Virginia but this incident occurred in Virginia about 2 months ago.

I was driving my Ford SUV with my 5 month old daughter in the back seat. My carry gun that day was a Taurus TCP .380 in my satchel. (I normally carry a G19 but that particular day called for some very deep concealment). I pulled in to a Subway parking lot for lunch and sat there for a few minutes waiting for a really good song to finish on the radio before going inside.

While I was sitting there, I did a quick scan of the area to see if anyone was nearby. I saw a man walking towards Subway from the gas station across the street. This man "just didn't look quite right" as he was dressed in black jeans, black shirt, black trench coat, black sun glasses, blag do-rag/bandana thing, and a black shoulder bag. Bear in mind, it was a 95 degree Virginia summer day (lots of humidity) so I thought it was a bit weird for him to be dressed this way.

I didn't want to take my satchel in with me since I'd have to carry the car seat/baby anyway so I slid my pistol into my pocket and left my hand on it for some reason (I don't normally sit in the car with a gun in my hand) Anyway, I'm glad I did since I looked up and saw the guy dressed in black standing right next to my driver side window. My window was cracked and he asked me what was all over my side-view mirror (a bird had used my car as a toilet the night before). I immediately hit the power locks on my door and told him it was just bird crap.

He then REACHED INSIDE HIS BAG while saying "I've got something that will help with that". I thought to myself, Holy crap, I may have to shoot this guy. What does he pull out of the bag? A window scrubber that he used to wash my mirror off with and then reached back in the bag and pulled out a squeegee to clean the soap off my mirror. After that he just walked away. I don't know what he was really up to.

He never asked for money, he just said he wanted to clean my mirror. He didn't even try to wash my windshield which I was expecting he would. The whole thing just felt so weird and when I told my wife about it later she was totally perplexed. We reenacted the scenario later and from the angle that the guy was standing (she pretended to be him) she could see that I had my gun in my hand and we still wonder if he saw it and was deterred.

Ok, lessons learned:

1. He got way too close without my realizing it. After seeing him at first, I should have kept him in a line of sight until I no longer had any "spidey tingles"

2. ALWAYS have your gun with you whenever legal to do so. Also have it accessible... I believe the Lord was watching out for me that day and prompted me to move my gun from my bag to my pocket. I never could have gotten to it in time if this guy had actually tried something.

Questions:

1. Have any of you seen/heard of anyone doing something like this? Looking back even now this was such a strange experience.

2. Would I have been justified in drawing on this guy when his hand went into his bag? Bear in mind that I had my baby girl in the back seat. Obviously I didn't draw but I was as close as I've ever been.

3. Any other suggestions you have for me would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance, and stay safe everyone!!
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Old May 29, 2013, 11:25 PM   #2
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It’s sort of a tough situation because really it is not unusual to occasionally be approached by some folks who might look a little sketchy. Generally their just homeless, substance abusers, mentally ill or a combination and don’t really mean you any harm. However, there are some bad folks out there and it does indeed pay to be aware of your surroundings.

As far as being justified to pull your gun I suppose that is really up to you and the local legal authorities. The best course of action would most likely have been to just drive away, but I know things happen fast.
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Old May 30, 2013, 01:08 AM   #3
Edward429451
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From the way this reads, I get the sense that your spidey sense told the exact truth to you. He was a smart one, he was up to no good, he had a built in alibi for just this occasion. It all fits.

You gave him a red flag when you locked the doors, you telegraphed that you were armed (or potentially so, as your wife confirmed with the e-enactment) and he knew when to call it quits. He had more in that bag than just a window scrubber. He was going to use your protective instinct of the child to make a quick quiet robbery, and you were protected (or lucky for the doubters)

He caught you off guard. He had you. Do you think it's a coincidence that you moved your gun at the right time and kept your hand on it? Was locking the door a conscious thought? Doesn't matter really. He wanted you. He had you. You locked the door and sent up a red flag. Your hand was in just too convenient of a spot on the gun and he saw this (flag two). He bailed without even asking for a buck. It's all too perfect. It fits. You're no idiot, you pieced it together.

Wow. That's an incredible story.

Good job, friend. The economy is getting worse. Lots of people are up to no good because of it. Maintain situational awareness, be vigilant. Protect your family. He had you. You were lucky.

I do not think you would have been legally justified for drawing on him as you describe it with only his hand going into the bag. You had a real cool customer that was being careful.

Last edited by Vanya; May 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM. Reason: removed references to religious beliefs.
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Old May 30, 2013, 01:17 AM   #4
4V50 Gary
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Agree with Edward. Always trust your instincts/intuition. It's telling you something that shouldn't be ignored. You did good!

I bet he carries that cleaning stuff just as an alibi.
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Old May 30, 2013, 02:23 AM   #5
Hook686
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Quote:
Would I have been justified in drawing on this guy when his hand went into his bag?
What was the lethal threat to you that would justify resorting to a lethal response?

I do not think personal fear justifies pulling a weapon, at least not in California. What does your jurisdiction say about personal fears vs lethal threat?
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Old May 30, 2013, 02:33 AM   #6
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From my reading, I don't know that drawing your weapon would have been justified. This statute seems most relevant:

Quote:
Originally Posted by VA State Code
§ 18.2-282. Pointing, holding, or brandishing firearm, air or gas operated weapon or object similar in appearance; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense. Persons violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation occurs upon any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds or upon public property within 1,000 feet of such school property, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.
In searching through VA's self defense laws, I find references to self defense, but no real explanation of what justify's acting in self defense. I would assume, therefore, that you would have to prove that you were in imminent danger and had no other recourse than to draw your weapon and potentially use it. I would think that a reasonable person would have a hard time justifying the use of self defense, assuming that he did not speak in an angry or threatening manner, based on your account, and that you did not see what he had in the bag. With all that in mind, I think you made the right call by not drawing your weapon, as I don't think you had enough to justify using it.
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Old May 30, 2013, 06:41 AM   #7
Dwight55
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I would say that Edward pretty well covered it.

May God bless,
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Old May 30, 2013, 07:53 AM   #8
garryc
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Quote:
He caught you off guard. He had you. Do you think it's a coincidence that you moved your gun at the right time and kept your hand on it? Was locking the door a conscious thought? Doesn't matter really. He wanted you. He had you. You locked the door and sent up a red flag. Your hand was in just too convenient of a spot on the gun and he saw this (flag two). He bailed without even asking for a buck. It's all too perfect. It fits. You're no idiot, you pieced it together. You had help. Send up thanks for that.
It sounds to me that this person was mentally ill. Most mentally ill people are not hostile. But the situation did properly raise the OP's alert level. He did take proper action in response to an elevated alert level, but did nothing to create a situation or to escalated a situation.

Good Job
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Old May 30, 2013, 08:45 AM   #9
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Trust your instincts. Mine have kept me alive more times than I care to remember. Some of those times were in a combat zone overseas too.
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Old May 30, 2013, 09:13 AM   #10
Grant D
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You accessed the situation, and acted accordingly. I have done the same thing in the same kind of situation.
You did good.

Last edited by Vanya; May 30, 2013 at 09:55 AM. Reason: remove reference to deleted post.
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Old May 30, 2013, 09:57 AM   #11
Vanya
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I've deleted or edited some posts. Both race and religion are off-topic: they have nothing to do with tactics.
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Old May 30, 2013, 11:03 AM   #12
Constantine
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You did great. I'm proud. That sense is always right. Some people don't listen or aren't in touch with their third eye.

As Edward said, he used the whole window washing as an alibi to get close.
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Old May 30, 2013, 01:21 PM   #13
ClydeFrog
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combat parking....

I often park my vehicle by backing in or using whats called combat parking.
If problems or trouble occurs you can scoot out. Tactics trainer & gun writer Massad Ayoob advocates parking that way. He also advises license holders scan lots or parking spaces for threats.

Id also advise always having at least one hand free at all times. Phones bags pets small kids etc can distract you but you need to have a swift, smooth reaction.

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Old May 30, 2013, 01:35 PM   #14
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OP: "I recently moved to Utah from Virginia but this incident occurred in Virginia about 2 months ago...

Bear in mind, it was a 95 degree Virginia summer day (lots of humidity)..."

Two months ago was March 30, SPRING was 10 days old. Nowhere near 95, and summer starts on June 21 (even in Va).

What do I think? Take a guess.

Last edited by Carmady; June 1, 2013 at 11:06 PM.
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Old May 30, 2013, 01:44 PM   #15
Garycw
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I think I was "approached"... What do you think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward429451 View Post
. He had more in that bag than just a window scrubber.

He caught you off guard. You were lucky.

I do not think you would have been legally justified for drawing on him as you describe it with only his hand going into the bag. You had a real cool customer that was being careful.
I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
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Old May 30, 2013, 03:26 PM   #16
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Then there is the possibility that he was just a weird looking good Samaritan.
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Old May 30, 2013, 03:28 PM   #17
shouldazagged
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Quote:
Two months ago was March 30, SPRING was 10 days old. Nowhere near 95, and summer starts on June 21 (even in Va)...What do I think? Take a guess.
Hmmmmm...whatever could you be implying?
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Old May 30, 2013, 03:55 PM   #18
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You did ALRIGHT, for the situation.

You followed situation awareness and followed your feelings.

Now is the time for review and analysis and any correwction YOU think that are needed.
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Old May 30, 2013, 03:56 PM   #19
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In a city of any size, the "Can I wash your windows? Want me to pump your gas? Can you spare a dollar-fifty so I can get some gas?" scam is as old as the hills. Wallmart parking lots, Flying J parking lots, etc.

Homeless and near-homeless seem to dress in many layers like that, in my experience.

No, I wouldn't have expected him to pull out a gun or a knife. A squeegee- heck yes.

So in answer to your questions:

1) Yes
2) No- not even close yet.
3) Remember that panhandlers are interviewing you all the time too. Their internal dialogue is probably like: "Does this person look like they are out of place? A soft touch? First time in the big city? Older, softer, young, out-of-place, etc?" . That "interview" behavior is a lot more common than we think.

You can have have reasonable boundaries in an encounter like this. You can say (in a firm voice) "Just tell me what you're going to tell me from over there" "Hey, before you put your hand in there.." or my favorite- a flat, inflection-free "no thanks". Just "no thanks". Think about what the impression you make during the delivery: "J-j-j-just tell me me what you're going to tell me from o-o-o-ver there" sends a message too.

Call that Subway sometime, and ask them "Hey, is that homeless guy who dresses in black outside?". $10.00 says he's there like clockwork. They probably will answer "Oh, you mean Jerry-the-homeless-guy-who-lives-in-the-Oleanders?"

IMHO the real world is about 99% annoyance and 1% (if that) danger.
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Old May 30, 2013, 05:34 PM   #20
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Yeah, it didn't start getting toasty in VA till yesterday.

In fact, it's been downright nippy this spring and what summer we've had up till now.


On the brandishing note, in VA you can get screwed by that statute just for being *seen* with your gun in your hand. Even if you have it out for no ones benifit but yours (like a guy recently who got to go through the whole nine yards when he was transfering his weapon either too or from his glovebox from his person)

As such, double checking your surrondings before fiddling with your carry gun is probably a good thing anyway.
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Old May 30, 2013, 05:55 PM   #21
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shouldazagged: "Hmmmmm...whatever could you be implying?"

I'm implying the "man in black" needs a bigger squeegee.
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Old May 30, 2013, 06:30 PM   #22
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Pulling your weapon is a decision for YOU. Whether or not you do so should have nothing to do with what some "brandishing" law says. If you feel threatened...let me change that...If I feel threatened, worrying about commiting some misdemeanor or other violation is not a factor.

EVERY law that deals with threats, armed robbery etc are all based on the "perception of a threat" by the other person. If you commit a hold up of a bank with a plastic toy gun, it's still an armed robbery if the bank teller perceives the threat as real ... "...That would cause an ordinary man to feel threatened..." is typical statutory language.

But regardless of what that law might say in your area, surely you're better off committing that minor offense, and defending it later, than getting car jacked or killed.


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Old May 30, 2013, 06:59 PM   #23
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it sounds like he may have been trying to distract you while someone else was waiting for some sort of signal to enter the vehicle from the other side.
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Old May 30, 2013, 07:24 PM   #24
shouldazagged
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Quote:
I'm implying the "man in black" needs a bigger squeegee.
Funny, I came to the same conclusion.

Or maybe a shovel.
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Old May 30, 2013, 09:18 PM   #25
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Everything is not some wicked prelude to attack. Sometimes people over dress. Sometimes people act oddly but have no intent to bother anyone. Sometimes you cant always fit everything people do into a nice neat rational package- and when you cant, it doesn't automatically mean they are up to no-good. Only you can decide when your life is in danger so I wont say that you weren't (I don't know) but this story doesn't seem to be in the same universe with that level of danger. This story sounds like a odd fellow who typically washes windows decided he was going to grab a bite to eat and on the way, noticed your very dirty mirror and did you a freebie.
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