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Old May 14, 2008, 09:57 PM   #1
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I need your opinions on having to draw my weapon.

Okay, here is the situation.

Background, Although I am a DCJS officer and have a CCP in the state of Virginia which is legal in MI where this takes place. I am not a sworn officer. I was making a long road trip. I left VA and drove up to Michigan to deal with a very stressful issue which I won't go into detatil about here, But I state it because I want to show that I was already stressed out pretty bad when the following happened and I had just been on the road like 10 hours and had been up for close to 30. Which is why I want others opinions on what occured, since I know I wasn't thinking perfectly straight.

Around detroit I was running out of gas and My stupid GPS thing got me lost. Anyways, I didn't have time to try and risk going any further, I needed gas. So I get off the highway and find myself immediately in one of those situations where I know I need to be on high alert. Just a really ghetto area. Similar to the bad parts of the NYC where I have spent a lot of time. The area didn't look all that good, but I had little choice since I knew not where the next gas station was. It was also a Sunday morning, 9:30ish AM, bright sun, so it's not like anyone could be hiding in the shadows or anything. So whatever, I start pumping the gas. There was a worker in the station booth and a single male in the far corner of the lot. So I am pumping gas and the guy in the corner looks at me and is like "Nice Car Man". I am immediately curious. I am not in one of my hot rods or anything. I am in a rented base model, POS etc. It was not impressive in any way shape or form. Dirty etc. But I also know that I look like a little country boy up in the big city and I am out or place.

So I respond, "Thanks Man" and don't take my eyes off him. He gets up and starts walking over (maybe 40ft away) He says, " I would love to take a closer look at it" To me that is an odd thing to say. I said to him "Hey, it ain't all that... Do me a favor will you? just stay over there? okay?" He says "It ain't no big deal, I just want to look at it"

At this point I have my hand next to my hip resting on my holster, looking directly at him and he is 20 feet and closing. I tell him straight out. "Look, I have been on the road too long... Leave me alone.. and back up!" I still have the car between us but he is starting to move around the hood towards the drivers door which is open and in between us. He says something along the lines of " It's okay, I just want to take it for a ride...." As he is saying this, His right hand grabs the top of the drivers door which starts to close so he can maneuver around it, and I can't see his left. I was handling this alright to this point because since I could see both hands, I knew he wasn't armed. But now, he was withing 5ft of me and one hand was unaccounted for. I felt threatened. I drew my weapon as he was pushing the door to get around it which would have left nothing between us and him very close to me.

As I pointed my pistol towards him, I yelled" Back the F--- up. I am not in the F---ing mood." He froze, and didn't say a thing. It was probably only a couple of seconds before he turned and ran, but it seemed like an eternity. I kept my pistol trained on him until he was out of the lot and around the corner. I holstered my pistol and did not want to wait to see if he came back with any friends. I handed a business card to the gas station guy who was now outside who witnessed the whole thing and said that he should call the police and to give them my card at which point I would meet them where ever they wanted. .... As for why I didn't call the cops, my cell phone was dead, I had left my charger at home cause I really wasn't thinking straight when I left.

I drove up the highway until I saw a not so ghetto place and waited in the parking lot and tried to calm down. I continued on with my trip, called my voicemail when I got to my destination and had no messages. I have not gotten any since then. This was almost a month ago and have not had any contact with the police up there. I imagine either, the gas station dude didn't do anything or they didn't care... or whatever.

Either way, I want to know what everyone hear thinks about what I did. In retrospect, I realize I did not draw on an imminent threat to my life, and I don't know what MI laws are regarding protecting property, but I felt threatened even if it wasn't because of a visible weapon. I probably should have called the cops when I got further north, but honestly at time i didn't want to deal with it. How could I have handled it better? What would you have done?
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Old May 14, 2008, 10:27 PM   #2
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IMO, if you felt threatened, then you did the right thing. I may have done the same thing. It is hard to say because when a person is experiencing a situation such as yours, the adrenaline is pumping, etc...

As for legal or illegal, I have no idea.
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Old May 14, 2008, 10:31 PM   #3
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From what you wrote, it seems you did perfect. I teach CCW in my home state and have reviewed thousands of similar scenarios. Bottom line, you can only pull a firearm when you feel threatened with immediate death or great bodily harm.

You had the right to feel so threatened when he moved his hand out of your sight and it was clear by his words and actions, especially after a verbal warning from you, his intentions were clear.

The only thing some liberal jerk prosecutor could hang his hat on was that the poor 'victim' was only after your car and not you. Different states have different laws on protection of property.
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Old May 14, 2008, 10:44 PM   #4
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If it was me, I would have let him taken the car. The potential problems from this are allot bigger then any loss you might have experienced, if he had pulled a knife out or done anything to directly threaten your life then thats the best time to use it.
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Old May 14, 2008, 10:48 PM   #5
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" It's okay, I just want to take it for a ride...."
Um, GTA is a felony, even in MI, yes?

The perps intent was clear, as was yours - to stop the felony from being committed. Don't know about the laws in MI, but many States allow for this action.

This is more a tactical/training situation, so hang on.... We're moving.
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Old May 14, 2008, 10:57 PM   #6
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The only thing some liberal jerk prosecutor could hang his hat on was that the poor 'victim' was only after your car and not you.
And you teach CCW classes

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Old May 14, 2008, 10:57 PM   #7
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I think you did good, the perp said he was going to take it for a ride, even after you gave him a warning to stay away. You felt threated, Thats all that matters, and most car jackers are armed. So I think you were in your right to protect yourself.
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Old May 14, 2008, 11:06 PM   #8
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Um, GTA is a felony, even in MI, yes?

The perps intent was clear, as was yours - to stop the felony from being committed. Don't know about the laws in MI, but many States allow for this action.
something like this just happened last week here in Arizona. The courts are going to decide what happens. a perp stole this guys truck. The owner ran out into the street the perp didn't know the area and went down a dead end. he turned the truck around and drove towards the owner. The owner shot and killed the perp.

The news report said Arizona doesn't have a property protection provision for deadly force. The owner said he thought the perp was going to run him over. He felt threatened. But because he came out of his house with a gun. He can face a criminal charge and face a civil suit from the perp's family. Unless he can prove his life was threatened. Even if found not guilty. It is likely he will still face a civil suit for a wrongful death.
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Old May 14, 2008, 11:35 PM   #9
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I think that what citizens must start doing is refusing to convict anyone, criminal or civil when what they did was in self defense. We must send a message to the socialist politicians they we will not convict and it is not worth prosecuting. The chances of me voting in a jury to convict an otherwise law-abiding citizen for killing someone is self defense, is nil.
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Old May 15, 2008, 12:21 AM   #10
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I can't comment on the legalities, but it seems like you handled the incident well.

Something to consider is that he would have needed to get the keys off of you to 'take it for a ride'. So this would have entailed an assault or at least the threat of an assault.
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Old May 15, 2008, 01:24 AM   #11
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I had a similar thing happen here in California when my truck was just a few months old. They guy kept coming and in a fight there was no question he could take me. But in Cal-i-fornia (as our Governor says it) we generally aren't allowed carry guns. But that gasoline nozzle makes a dandy weapon, especially if you pull out a lighter at the same time.

In your case, you politely asked the guy to stay away. When he fails the courtesy test, especially saying "It ain't no big deal, man..." it really is about to become a big deal.

He then fails the attitude test when you tell him to leave you alone and to back up. The Back-up! is not a request, so his ignoring it says he views your words as idle threats at least... or at the most he thinks he can take you regardless.

Once he moves around the front of the car and proceeds towards the driver's door he has closed the distance to where he can attempt to rush you. Your reaction, I think was reasonable... given the time, place and circumstances.

I kind of ran through this in my mind of what a reasonable person might do if they really just wanted to look a the car. When you tell them to stay away, most people would stay a few feet from the car and sensing hostility, try to look inside thru the off-side windows. They might ask about the interior, seating capacity, handling, engine type, etc. But when they ignore repeated instructions to stay back or back off.... well, that's trouble brewin' for ya.
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Old May 15, 2008, 01:28 AM   #12
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Just my opinion but, I think you did just fine. The only things I would have done differently is 1) Had the door closed keys in hand 2) moved to rear of car 3) Possibly drawn sooner (5ft is way to close) 4) Called Police ASAP

Glad you made it out unharmed.
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Old May 15, 2008, 06:12 AM   #13
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Legalities aside (see the tag line in my signature), I think you did the right thing. His stated intent was to steal your property, possibly harming you in the process. Was he armed? You weren't sure. Did he stop advancing when first warned? No.

In most states, you can't draw your weapon unless you feel you are in imminent danger of bodily harm or death. Also, in most states, you are not obligated to "retreat" from your position, wherever it might be. Sometimes there's also a clause that states something like "what a reasonable person would do".

Were you in danger? Only the perp knows for sure. Are you alive and well with your property safe? Yes. Bottom line. The fact the police haven't followed up on it tells me a lot.

Moral of the story: Keep driving rather than stop in a questionable area. Running out of gas on the interstate may be favorable than pulling off in a bad spot. Make sure all of your SD devices work, including your cell phone. And lastly, throw that GPS away and get a new one!
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Old May 15, 2008, 06:20 AM   #14
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I think he did fine, however...

The perps intent was clear, as was yours - to stop the felony from being committed
Not sure on MI law, but VA doesn't allow deadly force to be used against felony theft. Only certain kinds, such as rape, kidnapping, deadly assault etc. Last I heard MI was similar.

Thing is, in protecting is assets (car) the perp would have tried to take it forceably from him, putting his well being in jeopardy. To me that's enough justification to draw. If 'radiki' was somewhere else away from the car and the guy simply took it, he wouldn't *legally* have that ability to pull as his life wouldn't be in danger.

Except for Texas, because...they have more common sense down there.
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Old May 15, 2008, 07:32 AM   #15
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You did what I would have done. What's going to happen, the guy is going to call the police and complain that "I was just trying to steal his car and the dude pulled a gun one me"? Most police when hearing that story would have just laughed at the criminal. There is plenty of awareness about the criminal element in those areas and the danger that you were in. A similar type of "come on" was done to me at the parking garage in Chicago at O'hare Field and as I had no weapon I took a defensive stance and the perp decided (I don't know why to this day) to not attack me. That guys next step or two may have resulted in a knife being shoved into your gut. I've spent enough time in Detroit and Chicago in the type of area you describe to know that you indeed were in great danger. You just proved my theory that when the chips are down, most people do a good job of handling themselves in a life or death situation, which regardless of what people from more civilized areas think, you were. Moral of the story.......Stay out of those places!!!!! You were lucky that you are alive and just the topic of a dinner party debate over why you would have acted so "mean" to a nice fellow that just wanted to go for a ride.
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Old May 15, 2008, 07:44 AM   #16
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Don't worry about it. This is life in the ghetto and they are used to it. Confrontations like this happen all the time. He could have wanted to carjack you or he could have just wanted to see the car. What ever it was we all know you don't let strangers into your comfort zone. He above anyone else should know better and the fact he ran indicates he was up to no good.

A lot of what we do to ward off danger is role playing and you won an academy award. Nor harm no foul. As a former cop, they could care less.
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Old May 15, 2008, 08:33 AM   #17
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You did fine. Maybe he just wanted the car, but he was acting in a threatening manner, made it clear that he didn’t care what you said and when his hand was unaccounted for, you drew on him. And you refrained from shooting him. I think it worked like it's supposed to.
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Old May 15, 2008, 08:57 AM   #18
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The attendant probably didn't call the cops

& if he did, the cops probably didn't care.
Next time, lock doors, keys in pocket.
You did good though.
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Old May 15, 2008, 10:07 AM   #19
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I'm heading to Detroit on Saturday and have been up there before and i know the areas you are talking about. From the way you described things you were fine with your actions. As someone else posted, i wouldn't have my door open and the keys are always in my pocket. In a similar situation, i would have maybe drawn as he rounded the front of the car, not waited until he was at the door. He could take one leap from 5 feet and be on you before you could react in a defensive way. Plus the fact that you haven't heard anything from them, you should probably not worry. The police would have contacted you by now if it was an issue.

Oh, and get a new GPS if the one you have got you lost
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Old May 15, 2008, 10:28 AM   #20
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Although I am not a law enforcement officer, I think you handled the situation perfectly.

I know the area that you were in VERY well and trust me ... you were in grave danger! I was an OTR Truck Driver for 15 years and Detroit was one of my regular routes for 5 years. The criminals there DO NOT mess around and are extremely dangerous. That is why when I had to stay the night or the weekend in the area, I always stopped at a T/S is Lima, OH ... it was much safer and only a 30 min drive from Detroit. But this is off-topic so I will focus here. For your own peace of mind, I just wanted you to realize that you were indeed in danger, IMHO. I have personally seen some outlandish violence in that area many times before. It isn't considered "the murder capitol of the nation" for nothing.

I agree with what others have said here. He was acting in a suspicious manner, he continued to advance despite your warnings to him, he commented, "I just want to take it for a ride" indicating to me that he meant to do it whether you approved or not and he kept one hand out of site which tells ME that he either DID have a weapon concealed or at least wanted you to think he did. Then, after it was over and he ran-away, you gave the clerk your card and told him to give it to police, something that I personally wouldn't have done. The clerk was probably "buds" with the guy.

Carrying a concealed weapon carries a tremendous responsibility and knowing when to "pull-it" and use it is not always a clear matter. Personally, I do not carry very often for that reason. IMO, having some street-smarts in this situation could have saved you a lot of grief.

1) NEVER stop and exit your vehicle in a questionable area.

2) Never engage in conversation with strangers in a questionable area.

3) If a questionable individual does approach you, hope for the best but prepare for the worst and stand your ground. (Which appears to be exactly what you did).
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Old May 15, 2008, 11:09 AM   #21
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Well done. In a situation like that, when a person with unclear intent is coming at you, I would both say "Stop" and "Back off" while backing off myself if he didn't. I would draw my gun and make sure there was always space between us. Only if he charges I would shoot. Would probably not shoot if he stepped into my car, unless my wife was in there, or some body.
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Old May 15, 2008, 11:32 AM   #22
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IMHO, you did the right thing. You might have been in trouble if you were inside and shot the guy as he drove off, tho here in Texas that is covered by our laws. However, standing at the vehicle as you are approached by someone intent on committing a felony ... I would have had my gun in my hand a lot sooner ...

We're going to Illinois in July ... and of course they don't honor my CHL ... I'm picturing that happening while my gun is safely locked, unloaded, in my trunk ......
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Old May 15, 2008, 04:36 PM   #23
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You did the right thing - you did what was required to come out of the situation intact. I would NOT call the police, just get out of the war zone ASAP! Normal rules do not apply in that city!
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Old May 15, 2008, 04:39 PM   #24
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"Normal rules do not apply in that city!"

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Old May 15, 2008, 04:44 PM   #25
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You did good. You're alive and you kept the car. Good job.
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