Got Lucky Today

I was leaving my apartment around 3:30pm today and noticed the next apartment down had their door slightly open. I knocked softly as to not open it more. Then I yelled in if anyone was home. No answer. Then I looked closer and noticed visible signs of a forced entry on the door. I drew my gun in a low ready position and immediately left and went into my car. I drove a block and dialed 911. After a short explanation the dispatcher said units were in route, they then asked me to meet the LEO outside my building. As I went back my neighbor drove up and got out of his car and quickly moved towards entering the building. The police hadn’t arrived yet so I told him to NOT enter the building, the perps could still be in his unit. Within a minute of that a patrol car showed up and I explained I was the caller and this other guy was my neighbor whose apartment was broken into. The LEO told me he was glad I moved away quickly and held the neighbor back from entering. The officer said he wasn’t even going to attempt entering until back-up arrived. I told the police based upon me running errands the unit was broken into between 2pm and 3:30pm. I had an important commitment and asked if I could leave. They said they had my name and phone number and they would call if needed. As I was leaving the second LEO was pulling in.
When I came home a few hours later I knocked on my neighbors door to ask what had happened. He thanked me a ton and let me know it was a forced entry and the apartment was ransacked. They stole some small electronics, jewelry, and his firearm. He said it was probably someone that knew him based upon the items stolen. His girlfriend and their dog had left at 2pm and they were probably waiting for her to leave. I told him it was quite the coincidence that he pulled up right before the police did. But he told me that the police called him immediately that his place was broken into… then he actually beat the police there!
So lesson learned here for me. I live in a VERY safe city (rated #1 per capita in the nation in 2019)… but I let my guard down. I was rather nonchalant about seeing the door open and yelling inside and knocking. I didn’t even look close enough initially to see the pry marks. I wasn’t even thinking about cheating a draw. With the perps haven taken a firearm I consider myself lucky. I let my guard down because there hasn’t been any crime reported in the 3 years I have lived in this complex.
What would you have done differently? A good learning opportunity here.

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Only things I might do different, is why draw your gun? No threat, why let them know you are armed? I would have probably run back to my apartment and called the police.

Besides that, and not saying I am right, sounds like you went out of your way to help a neighbor, and the police!

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@Fred_G I was on the second floor. Their apartment was right next to the open air stairwell. The stairwell was closer than going back to my unit. I watched the apartment door while going down the stairs to my garage. I drew my weapon in case the door opened or the perps were still in the building somewhere else.

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Devil’s advocate here again. (Sorry). What if the police were called, and showed up with you there with a drawn weapon? Would you have pointed your drawn gun at a fast moving object coming up the stairs? (think police officer…) How might officer Friendly react to honest citizen who had a drawn gun in their hands?

Again, Monday morning quarterbacking you, not putting you down at all.

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@Fred_G I very much appreciate your comments. I wanted to post this as a learning experience for everyone to think about. Your question is very valid. And yes, this could have turned out to be a disaster. From the time I drew my weapon to getting into my locked garage was less than 10 seconds. A lot can happen in just seconds.

EDIT: Hence the title… “Got Lucky Today”.

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@TexasEskimo DUDE! :flushed:
kinda scary there.
Maybe consider pre-staging your grip rather than fully drawing… IDK, might depend on the circumstances. I think I might still have gone for my apartment instead of the stairs (but that’s one of the reasons I can’t live in an apartment… too cozy for me.)

Do you have your neighbor’s number? might be a thought to have that in your phone.

Other things… good observation that door open means look for WHY (pry marks) before calling out.

Maybe not a lot else I’d have done different.

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Good job @TexasEskimo! We can always look back and learn from the experience what we might have done better. That said, what you did was reasonable legally. Now you know what police face every day when they just happen upon an incident.
My only change is that I would draw and have my weapon held down slightly behind me out of view.

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Hard to describe in words, but the stairway was right there. Cement stairs that gave me a great view of what’s up and what’s down. The stairs are “open”, you can see right through them. They are flat slabs with openings in between them. And right at the bottom was a steel door into my locked garage. I was down the stairs with my keys in hand in seconds. Soooo many thoughts racing through my head.

@MikeBKY Great thought. I had a full length trench coat on and unbuttoned. Unless someone was directly in front of me they would not have seen my weapon. When I said low ready, I meant REALLY LOW ready.

If anyone thought it would add some value to this lesson I could take several pictures of the scenario later and post. Let me know. It is hard to describe the layout in words alone.

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Wow. Good on you for being a good neighbor. In this day and age, a lot of people would have just gone on, if they even noticed the door open. I’m with @MikeBKY, that what you did was reasonable. Also, with Mike that the cops face these scenarios, and have a split second to decide if that person holding a gun is, or isn’t a threat. I will add this, as a good neighbor you now have the opportunity to discuss with the victim, about more secure storage of their unattended firearms. As a nice gesture of course.

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The police are awesome, but they can’t be everywhere at once and this is a good example of that.

You did the right thing leaving, @TexasEskimo. When did you reholster? I’m not 100% sure I’d take my firearm out of the holster - but it is dependent on the situation and location. You know your apartment building better than I do. In the apartment building I used to live in, I never would have drawn (my neighbors would not have liked seeing any sign of firearms and I didn’t want them knowing about mine).

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@Dawn When I got into my car… if you call this reholstering… tac magnets right above my knee. And my car is always in low drive when I open and closr the garage door. The car is a great weapon with a low deductible.

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Underground parking garage, @TexasEskimo?

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@Dawn I live on the second floor and my garage is on the first floor (ground level) at the bottom of the stairs.
While we are on the subject of garages, something I shared with @Zee about garage security. Crooks have tools that send wireless signals with common garage door codes while they drive down streets and apartment complexes. They just wait to see what doors open. This is extremely dangerous on so many levels. To prevent this I spent a few dollars on an AC remote control. It took 2 minutes to install. Simply plug the AC remote into the ceiling receptacle and then plug the garage motor into the AC remote box. When I leave the garage and the door is closed I hit the remote button and it turns the garage door power off. When I return I turn on the AC power remotely and then use my garage remote to open the door. I also keep the power off when the car is parked. It is an extra step, but I like cheap security “hacks”.

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Hello Sir. I think you did just fine. Good job thinking on your feet and being so observant. Your AAR is on point. Well done sir.

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Garage door security has always been a concern to me, and I had not heard of the Wireless AC Remote Control until reading your post. It was really kind of you to supply the post with attached link. Many thanks.

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@John270 Welcome to the forum. That’s why we are all here. To share ideas. And for $15 and the world’s easiest install well worth the backup security.

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@Virgil_H Thank you sir. It’s hard to get all the details in on After Action Report/Review.

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One thing I want to commend you for is not going in and getting to a more secure area.

Physiologically did you notice tunnel vision or anything of the sort?

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@James I had a lot of things going through my head. As I have been trained to do, I very quickly assessed and then categorized each thought as Absolute, Speculation, Not True, Irrelevant, etc. I was thinking this was a process, not an event. I was calm and felt this was all part of my training… nothing new here.
Afterwards I was initially upset that I had not identified the threat quickly enough (the pry bar marks on the door). But no one is perfect and I have moved on and will use that as a lesson going forward.
Great question.

I now have both of their numbers and they have mine. Nice young couple. She is alone alot and he appreciates that she has someone next door to call on if needed.

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@MikeBKY When I was a director at a consulting firm I would always survey/question all parties involved after an engagement. Two basic questions… “What Went Well?” (WWW), and “Even Better If?” (EBI). Then I would follow-up by issuing a report (AAR) to all parties on a need-to-know basis with the aggregate results for institutional learning.

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