As I stood there, I had a serious thought, “Oh my god, am I going to have to shoot this guy?"
An incident occurred to me and my fiancé last week that I wanted to share with everyone here. My purpose in sharing with you all is to highlight areas that helped me reflect on the strengths of my training and preparation regimen, as well as some lessons learned. If just one person reads this takes something positive away in their own life as a concealed carrier, I will be happy.
I do not offer my story as a “how-to” or “look how cool I am” (because I am not), but more of an opportunity for you to realize that it could happen to you.
This post is long, but at the end is where I highlight my reflections.
9PM at night, my fiancé and I decide to go to get food from Wienerschnitzel to take home (I am totally digging their BBQ hot dogs lately). The Wienerschnitzel is a short drive from our house located in a business district area littered with popular eating establishments. For those who are familiar with Wienerschnitzel, this particular location is an older version where the orders are placed at a walkup window outside and only has an outdoor dining area with tables.
We ordered and were waiting for our food when my fiancé said “Hey, that guy is walking over this way”. She was looking in the direction down the street about 50 yards away where I could hear a male talking loudly with what I can only describe as bursts of yelling.
As I watched him, he was walking on the sidewalk in our general direction. As he continued to walk, he was obviously angry, but talking what seemed to be nonsense. He appeared to be either under the influence of narcotics or suffering from mental health issues (or both). As he passed by us walking on the sidewalk, he continued to be going from yelling out words and mumbling under his breath. I kept an eye on him as he passed, and few times he looked at us. He stood at the corner for a few moments and walked across the street.
A few minutes later, he crossed back to our side of the street and stopped on the sidewalk in front of the Wienerschnitzel, stared right at me and said angrily, “Did you hear me? I said I going to kill you!”
I could not believe what I heard. I said “What?” He replied angrily, “I’m going to f–king kill you”. He then pointed at my fiancé and said, “I’m going to f–king kill your wife. I’m going to kill your kids.” Well that last remark was odd since this guy doesn’t know me and my kids are all adults and were not there with us. Maybe just the ramblings of a drug abuser or a crazy person, but he was making lucid statements to kill me and my fiancé nonetheless.
I told him, “If you try to do that, bad things are going to happen to you”. He said, “I don’t care. I’m going to kill you. Go ahead and call the cops, they aren’t going to do anything. I’m going to f–ck you up”.
As I stood there, I had a serious thought, “Oh my god, am I going to have to shoot this guy?"
While I continued to tell him that if he attempted to do anything to us it will end very bad for him, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and pressed the lock button 5 times rapidly. The phone began to dial 9-1-1 and I handed it to my fiancé without saying a word.
For about the next five minutes, he and I are in this back and forth while I hear my fiancé behind me on the phone with the dispatcher. I continue to tell him that he needs to walk away, that he did not want to engage me, and that if he attempted to do anything to either of us that I would put him down and that it will not end well for him. As he would pace back and forth, flailing his hands in the air, continuing to make statements like “I’m going to f–k you up”, he continued to face me but began to create some distance between us as he inched further down the sidewalk away from us. Periodically he would take one or two steps towards me as if to gesture like I’m coming for you . When he did that, I would take one confident step forward while keeping my body squarely oriented directly towards him. I wanted to make it very clear to him that I was not prey…I was a predator.
As he continued to inch further away from us down the street and at one point he blurted out during our back and forth, “I have a gun”. I quickly told my fiancé, “He says he has a gun”. He then continued to walk down the street on the sidewalk making his threats and walked out of our sight.
Police officers showed up about 15 minutes later. The officer I spoke with briefly (for about 30 seconds) seemed disinterested and said they would look for him. I don’t want to make this story about their response and the extremely poor way they handled the call, as that is not the focus of my post. So, I won’t waste your time with detailing that aspect of the incident (unless someone really wants to know).
I carry a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield 1.0 loaded 8+1 with Hornady Critical Defense 9MM. I also carry an extra 8 round magazine in an Alien Gear single cloak mag holder OWB on my left side.
I normally carry my gun in my Alien Gear Shapeshift holster in the IWB configuration at the 4 o’clock position. However, for this incident I had my gun in a DeSantis Superfly pocket holster in the front right pocket of my cargo shorts since I considered this food run a quick trip.
I also carry a Buck 864 Iceman folding knife along with my iPhone, both in my left pocket. I sometimes carry a Smith and Wesson M&P Delta Force CS20 flashlight, but during this incident it was in my truck.
In addition to shooting the various guns I have, I try and shoot once a month using my EDC gun. I practice my draw, shoot, and reload from my normal IWB holster setup from concealment. When I practice shooting, I visualize a threat and commence my shooting based on the visualized threat.
For my pocket holster, I’ve only practiced my draw dry firing at home.
I’ve enabled the Emergency SOS feature in my iPhone. This allows me to call 9-1-1 using one hand, as was handy in this situation since I want to keep my gun hand free. This worked out in this situation as I had my right hand in my pocket on my gun while I pulled out the iPhone from my left pocket. If I were alone, I am not sure I would have called 9-1-1 as I would have wanted my focus to be on the threat and not talking to a dispatcher.
Not only do I feel like I have a solid grasp of the laws in my state regarding self-defense, but also have a solid understanding of criminal law overall. This is something I always recommend to my fellow concealed carry friends. Understanding thing like the difference between things like robbery vs. burglary, what actions/elements must exist for something to be considered a robbery vs. a mere theft, as well as case law interpretations I feel are helpful in assisting me with my decision making. One of the easiest ways to learn your state’s criminal laws is by taking an introduction to criminal law class at a community college, especially since so many offer distance learning as an option now.
During the incident I was running the scenarios in my head…”if he does X, I will draw…if he does Y, I will draw and shoot”. These are general scenarios I regularly practice in my head and was surprised how they began to play out in my head during the incident.
I am blessed to have a fiancé that has a keen “spidey” sense and can observe things that are suspicious and out of place. Her recognizing something was wrong with the individual who threatened us when he was not even close to us is an example of how good her situational awareness is.
When she told me “Hey, that guy is walking over this way”, I replied, “I’m sure its fine”. I wasn’t ignoring a possible threat, I just wanted to reassure her but I did move from condition yellow to orange. When the individual initially passed us and crossed the street, I remember moving my condition back to yellow and looking back I probably should not have done so that fast. I did miss him crossing back to us and didn’t observe him until he was back across and walking on the sidewalk back towards us, seconds before he began making his threats to kill us. I should have not discounted the possibility that he might come back our way.
Communicate (before and during the incident)
My fiancé and I have had numerous discussions about different situations, playing ‘what ifs’. We regularly discussion situations and what I expect of her if we are faced with an emergency and I’ve told her what she can expect of me. She knows situations that might warrant drawing of my weapon and to never get between me and the threat. We both know how to be good witnesses and are experienced in providing descriptions of persons and vehicles.
My fiancé verbalizing to me “Hey, that guy is walking over this way” was exactly what I want from her. I knew exactly why she was saying it when she did. It is important we communicate out loud any potential threats we identify.
When I handed the phone to her as it was dialing 9-1-1, I should have said so out loud and should not have had over confidence that she knew that’s what I wanted her to do. I learned from her after the incident that she was already pulling her phone out to call 9-1-1 when I was handing her my phone. We both could have communicated that better by saying it out loud.
When the guy said “I have a gun”, I am pretty sure my fiancé heard it, but I knew she was talking to the dispatcher on the phone and I wanted to make sure she heard it so I made sure to tell her.
Watch the Hands
Knowing that an attack will always come from the hands, I have practiced watching the hands of individuals. In looking back at the incident, I was surprised how this came naturally. I was focused on the guys hands to look for things like balled fists, holding any objects, seeing if he reached into any pockets, etc. When he said he had a gun (which I am pretty sure was a lie as he seemed to think he needed to up his threats to try and create fear in me), I found myself even more so focused on his hands. I felt like my mental conditioning in this area was really paying off.
Well, that’s my story. I hope someone here finds it helpful, even if just as to provoke thought.