Responding to friends' house middle of the night?

Here’s the situation that happened to me last night/early this morning. It is interesting how this ties into some other threads.

My friend is not a “gun guy.” He knows that I am. He is out of state with his son. His wife (8 months pregnant) and young daughters (the oldest is my daughter’s best friend) are home alone. These friends are like family. They are awakened before 4 a.m. to loud banging on their front door. The wife, afraid, calls her husband who is out of state. My friend calls me. I live four miles away.

They didn’t call the police because they figured I would get there more quickly. (So much could be said here.)

This is a three story home. Bedrooms are on second floor. The wife never went downstairs to answer the door.

I immediately get dressed including my 9mm and drove over there. My response time was about 17 minutes. (About half of this was drive time and about half was just getting out the door.)

My friend called his neighbor who came over and checked all the doors and walked the yard. My friend called me back while I’m inbound to let me know the neighbor is headed over.

I arrive and all is quiet. The neighbors have gone home. The wife is calm at this point and the girls are still in their rooms upstairs. The wife is on the phone with her husband and I gently insist that they call the police. If nothing else, if this individual repeats the behavior (either at their home or somewhere else), there will be a record.

She calls 911. The police tell her that an officer was actually the one at her door. I did not hear the police side of the conversation so some of these details are sketchy to me. Apparently someone had called the police. I believe the police used the phone number of the caller to determine her address. That number was not my friend’s number nor his wife’s (dispatch supplied the phone number). Since I didn’t talk to the police, these details are sketchy to me as to how dispatch got that address. Did they get the address based upon the phone number? Did they get the address wrong from the caller?

Some personal takeaways here. Add or critique with your thoughts. I use this as a learning experience.

  1. My friend’s wife should have called 911 immediately. I told them that. I might have a sit down with them when the time is right and debrief about this. I might suggest they get a video doorbell as well.

  2. I responded and went over there. I would absolutely do this again. Period. It never occurred to me to do otherwise. There is no way I would not respond to these friends in a time of need.

  3. My friend’s wife never answered the door. When she heard that it was the police who were there, she said, “I should have answered the door.” I responded kindly but strongly that she did the right thing by not answering the door when she was not expecting someone and when it was an odd hour of the night.

  4. I’m thinking of several things I could have done to speed up my response time. I won’t drag you through those details.

  5. It never occurred to me to think about what I was going to do if the man had made it inside their house. My assumption driving over there was that the man would be gone by the time I got there or that I would be confronting someone on their front porch. Had I arrived and found signs of forcible entry, I almost definitely would have gone in and searched the house. Yes. I know that’s a highly dangerous situation. But under the circumstances, had I had any reason to believe they were in danger, I cannot imagine not going in.

  6. Had I arrived on the scene while the LEO was still there, I believe I would have recognized the cruiser out front and would have recognized the man as an officer. I am working under the assumption that he was in uniform. Had this been the case, I would have called my friend’s wife and let her know. I would have spoken to the officer from a non-threatening distance while keeping my hands visible.

  7. The initial adrenaline dump was pretty good. I was a bit shaky getting dressed. By the time I got to my friend’s house, I was close to normal for that time of the day under those circumstances.

  8. There are some gear things I would do differently. I should have grabbed a different flashlight with better throw (I still had a very capable light). I grabbed my S&W Shield because my Glock 19 is sitting empty with unloaded magazines from my last range trip. (Yeah. I know.) I didn’t take my rifle and I wouldn’t change that because I have no training behind my rifle.

Any thoughts from this community?


This is a very dynamic situation, thank you for sharing and I love to see your mind is looking for ways to be better if, God forbid, something like this happens again.

A few things that come to mind for me:

  1. One thing you may have done while driving to your friend’s house, is to contact law enforcement yourself, either by 911 or the non-emergency number. I keep the non-emergency number for all local law enforcement agencies saved in my phone JUST in case.

  2. How would you pull up to the house? It can depend on the exact layout, but if there was a threat and you drive right up to the front, would that threat shoot at you? Planning to first drive by or at least stop at a distance and check things out may be a better option to allow you to see if the door is kicked in, is there a suspicious person walking around, or if it’s an officer there on the property. Arrival Tactics are JUST as important as other actionable tactics.

  3. definitely reassure her that she did the right thing by not going down to the door, but remind her why contacting 911 as soon as possible is important.

A great question to ask your friend and wife would be, what did she do with her kids when she was woken up? Did they sleep through this all or did they wake up? Do the kids know what to do? Does his wife have any experience with firearms and do they have one in the home? Making that family plan for everyone in the house to know is also important and this may be the situation that encourages them to create a plan and consider a home defense gun so they are prepared if the next time, it’s real.


The family is in definite need of a paradigm shift as it relates to their defensive posture. Great post, Op. Thanks for sharing.


Sensible thoughts.

I suggest that if you are asked to do this again, call the police as you travel to the house. It would be an unpleasant surprise for a responding officer to encounter an excited man with a gun who shows up out of the blue.

When you arrive in your car. Sit for a minute or two and observe before approaching the house. You said it took you 17 minutes to prepare and get there. Presumably, your friend took a minute or two to call you and a couple minutes on the phone with his wife. An extra minute sitting in your car just looking around would unlikely be the difference between life and death. Maybe make a call to your friend’s wife from the car to let her know you are there.

It also sounds like your friend may have been the target of some sort of swatting incident – call to police where the caller ID is your friend’s house. That should be reported to the police, but was not because your friend’s wife (wisely) did not open the door when the police showed up and started pounding on the door. Your friend should also ask the police why they left the house without at least investigating further or leaving a card with “call me” stuck in the door. Something sounds amiss.


Call 911 immediately. Wife should call them first, immediately.

If that fails, husband should call local police dispatch for her if she won’t.

If that fails, by the time you get the call, you should call 911/police dispatch.

Going forward, if I were you, my recommendations would be to

  1. Get a monitored alarm and set it, so that it goes off and they start reaching out in the event of a breach
  2. Reiterate to call 911.
  3. Suggest training and a firearm because relying on a private citizen who is about 20 minutes away to come use a gun on her behalf is not going to be nearly as reliable as having a gun 20 seconds away in a safe, with the training on how to use it
  4. I’ll leave the judgement call to drive in that direction alone/as your call, but, my recommendation to you would be, if you’re willing to do that and you are literally driving there with a gun in case you need to shoot someone in their defense…call 911, get officers responding. Before you are even out the door. Even rural there is a good chance I’ll reckon that they can beat 17 minutes (or 10, possibly). Or they can show up after you are lying on the front lawn bleeding out and you’ll have medical if you are still alive at that point. Or, it can be learned that police ARE there already. Big thing if so

Well, in all likelihood, if it were indeed an actual threat to life, it would have been a mop up situation by the time the Op actually arrived to render aid or get into the fight. The friend and the friend’s wife are in need of more suitable alternatives in order to increase their chances of survival. Of course, it begins with 911. 17 minutes is an eternity. I’m glad that this was the extent of the experience, but definitely one to learn from. The Op should vehemently hammer this home to his friend who left his family defenseless.


Excellent, helpful, and thought provoking responses. Thank you.

Follow ups on some specifics.

  1. Calling 911 myself in route is a great point. I was working under the assumption (obviously wrongly so) that they were going to call 911 after they hung up with me. Still, alerting dispatch that I was on my way is noted. We are on the border of the locality for our police. So if police were at the other end of the locality, their response time assumption could be legitimate (but oh the irony here when it was LEO at their house.)

  2. As far as pulling up to the house, some of my recollections are shady about what I knew and when. But I had a pretty good idea by the time that I got there that the incident was over. So I wasn’t overly cautious. Their house sits high off the road, with limited visibility to their front door as I approached. Excellent point @Tim_D_USCCA

  3. As far as the kids (three of them, all female and young), at least one of them slept through the entire incident. They all stayed upstairs. I’m not sure exactly when the wife/mom came downstairs. She absolutely needs a plan of what to do with them.

Completely fair point and not pushing back, However, I am not sure they (or I) would say they were relying on me to use a gun (although it obviously could have come to that). Bluntly, they didn’t know what to do (which is a huge problem). They called someone they thought would know what to do without really knowing what they were asking me to do. (Just call Sinbad, he’ll know what to do.) Calling 911 seems like such a basic thing that I’m flabbergasted that they didn’t do that. (And I hate to say that about such a good friend.) Both of them being wakened out of deep sleep and the fear when the man of the house is out of town, likely prevented them from clear thinking. (This is why we think things through when we are awake.)

I get your point. However, I wouldn’t personally use the term “defenseless.” The locked doors were a defense. The phone was a defense (even though used incorrectly by not calling 911). Not knowing what to do? Ok. I concede the point.

No doubt, my friend and I will be having some meaningful conversations in the near future.


Hadn’t considered this. Legit point and thanks.


@Sinbad, here’s what’s stuck in my mind: 17 minutes. House far back and high off the road with limited visibility. With all due respect for your confidence (because they’re your friends), and it may seem semantical, but given what you’ve described, the locked door does not spell defense. It spells a prolongation of entry-perhaps, but for a determined foe, not a defense, because of time (17 minutes), intent, and opportunity. Video doorbells, external cameras, 911, guns, and training in their use, and maneuver. That is what I would call a defensive. Why? Because of your description: High off the road with limited visibility. Time would be an assailant’s friend.

You put a lot out there, my friend. I suspect there will be more critical analysis in the future. Stay tuned. And again, great post; and I’m glad we are able share from this vantage point with no injury or loss of life.


I have to say, if it had been law enforcement at the door I would think they would have stayed until they got in, that’s been my experience.


One point of clarification.

The way the house is situated, it is high and off of the road and I did not have a good view of the porch/front door from the direction of my approach. Had I came in from the other direction, I would have better visibility. However, it would have taken me longer to get there coming from that direction.

Agreed. Input is appreciated. Learning is the goal here.


Thanks for sharing, lots to process and learn


I think the key take away here is that unless it is LEOs banging on your door the response time for a friend or LEOs is far too long to protect anyone when determined criminals are attempting to break into your home.

Even if people are anti gun or anti self defense they need to decide how they will respond to such incidents instead of wishfully thinking someone else will come to save them. So whether that means less lethal defense tools, safe rooms or escape plans they need to have some personal action in place or they are just placing their lives completely in the hands of criminals.

In this particular case I would have responded to the call for help as well but probably would have called 911 to let them know I was responding. This both to hopefully get them on the way and to let them know I was going to be on scene if a family member or neighbor had already called them.


Even assuming your friend and his family are strongly anti-gun, they still need a plan for each of different emergencies. Wife wakes up smells smoke? What’s the plan? Wife wakes up hears some one rummaging around downstairs. What’s the plan? Husband and wife should sit down and imagine as many emergency scenarios as they can and devise a plan for each. They should be set down on paper and stored in a 3-ring binder. They should be reviewed quarterly. As soon as the older daughter is of sufficient age to be helpful, she should be clued in on the plan and assigned a role. Yeah, they can’t cover all exigencies, but at least they now have an idea about how to act. It might be a good idea if they invited you over for a dinner and have you review their plan and make suggestions. I would keep the plan on a file in their word processing program so that updating it won’t be a major chore. HOWEVER, I would put it down on paper. If the electricity is out because a circuit got fried the computer may not be computing. The binder should be kept in the nightstand. Even if they get a firearm for self defense, they still need a plan and the wife should absolutely learn to use the firearm. When the oldest daughter is old enough she should also learn to use the firearm. My .0002 worth.


Seems like all the answers have been covered. This is why we love our community. :slightly_smiling_face:
If you think you might have to do this again, I suggest a “go-bag”. I have a Maxpadition Sling bag set up ready to go. I have a S.A. XDM in .45 12+1 that sits like a shoulder holster under my left arm with an extra mag, weapons light, full gunshot kit, knife, and 20 rounds of 00 buck for the 12ga. that sits beside it in my closet.
Grab and go. :slightly_smiling_face:
Otherwise I think you did a good job considering the circumstances. :+1:


I agree with Bruce26, THIS is why we love our community. Lots of good responses, I’m taking notes.


The irony is this. I just bought a new bag freeing up a Vertx EDC bag which is poised to be my new bump in the night bag just as you suggested. I got the bag the evening before this happened, but didn’t have the Vertx bag set up (hopefully this weekend). Also, my car keys and Olight M1X were in different spots in a new bag. This took a few more seconds to recall where they were.

I see every “incident” as a learning experience and training for the next potential.

There are several folks who I specifically hoped would respond. Some of you have. I’m sure there are others not far behind.

Thanks to you all!


They are not anti-gun (not sure if they own one or not.) They just don’t think this way. I suspect that is changing.

I’ve been called over to their house for a couple other “emergencies” (but not of the personal protection variety). It always seems to happen when dad is away. And they don’t have family close. They are not lightning rods, but that Murphy guy visits every once in a while.

This is very, likely to happen.


This is the biggest takeaway for me. The initial call came and I started getting ready. My friend hung up because his wife was calling back. There were a couple more calls back and forth. I don’t specifically remember, but I believe I told them to call police. I assumed they had called 911.

Frankly, I love these people, but I am a little embarrassed and frustrated that they didn’t call 911. It was literally 30 minutes after the banging at the door (and well after I arrived) before they called. I suspect when we chat this out, they will be embarrassed as well.


I would have a talk about defensive tactics. Do they have a battery powered door stop/alarm, a safe room with a solid door that can be barred with thought out escape from windows to a rally point. Then have them practice the plan at least once a year.

They need a plan to get out. Might sound like Sheldon Cooper talking but if nothing else use it to escape a house fire.