Hello fellow USCCA members, after being a member for almost year, I am sincerely excited for this platform to share my story with you all in hopes in that it will continue to further our mental training.
I am the victim in the above article, This happened over 14 years ago when I was 19. For the record I never was involved with any drugs, gangs, or criminal activities.
It was a Sunday evening, beautiful evening, in my home town Pittsburgh PA. I had finished a long work weekend, and also just finished my first year of college a few weeks prior. I was going to see my friend, and caught a red light underneath an over pass, the lane crosses traffic into a tunnel.
Here is a link of the exact spot - https://goo.gl/maps/fdcB9SAvAff7Y7pH8
I was the first vehicle at the light, in the right lane, with no vehicles in the left lane, and a few cars behind me.
A car pulls up next to me and stops extremely quick, I look over, guy is staring at me, nod my head and look back at the light. I hear a loud pop, I had no clue what it was, and I look down to see my right arm bleeding. (1st bullet went through my wrist).
I look back at the car next to me, and I am staring down the barrel of a 9mm, Two muzzle flashes as I duck to the right into the passenger seat and simultaneously get hit in my left arm. Pain is the absolute worst I have ever felt. (2nd bullet shattered my humorous bone)
I continue to here rounds go off and about every other one I was hit. In summary, I was hit a total of 5 times, two in the left arm, one bounced off my rib cage an proceeded to wreck a kidney, spleen, and damage my pancreas, and the last went through my left pectoral muscle through and through from left to right. I made a full recovery in less than 3 months and still am blessed with great health, a miracle.
The car sped off after emptying 12-14 rounds.
My first thought was (speaking to myself)
“You’re F****d up, you have to go the hospital now, no subway, no friend”
Then - “Stay calm (boy-scout first aid training helped)… people get shot and live… stay calm”
Then - “Call 911”
As I am on the phone with 911 emergency saying “I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot, I need an ambulance” - I hear a guy at my passenger window say “No Sh*t” you’ve been shot" I look up and he say’s “I am an off duty police officer, I have called it in, you can hang up now”
I tried to get up, and it felt like my left arm was reaching for the steering wheel… but it wasn’t moving, it was completely broken. The pain would surge every 5 seconds with extreme heat then full body pain.
There are many more details I remember, but the point of sharing this is to create a real life “it happened” discussion to further our situational awareness and tactics to reduce the possibility of this rare but real event from happening to any of us.
What would you do to prevent this from happening? The details of right before the event:
- driving a manual transmission
- crossing highway speed traffic directly in front of you
- this all played out in literal seconds - when I realized I was being shot… even if I was of age to own and carry, I realistically do not see how I could have returned defensive fire.
I have arrived at the following practices after many… many years of constant evaluation, basically at almost every stop light. Or when driving:
Absolutely follow the “see the tires of the car in front of you” rule to allow enough space to pull away
>even though this would not have helped this situation, it is without a doubt a great rule to follow
>I play "can my vehicle jump this curb and fit through those obstacles now when I am in a confining stopped position with my vehicle.
> I also drive an automatic now
> Constant situational awareness attempting to place my vehicle in the most strategic spot possible and leave room for maneuvering away… I do carry now, but even the fastest of draw’s could not have stopped this. It may have shortened it… but I still would have been shot… which lead’s me to the next thought.
Not afraid to keep looking… carefully
> Even though he looked me dead in the eye and stared at me… I looked away.
> I feel, as scary as it can be, maintaining eye contact or attention may have given me a chance seeing him reach and pull the firearm.
Tinted windows, rolled up when stopped or in traffic -
> I truly believe if I had rolled up tinted windows on this day the bad guy would not have shot. For two reasons, not having a “target” and “the unknown” behind the window - thoughts?
> Although I am “almost” legal with my tint, It is worth the ticket for my privacy and self protection - I will debate in court if I ever get a ticket for it, and will roll ALL my windows down if I ever get pulled over. Also they are not egregiously dark or unsafe.
Any other feedback is welcomed and encouraged. Feel free to ask me questions, I wont be offended, and if I can help provoke “preparedness” thought’s then I will feel the post has accomplished it’s goal.
The focus is to further mental preparedness through discussion from fellow USCCA members and staff (hopefully @KevinM too). And for those wondering, he was arrested before I was in the hospital, weapon and all. His motive, (revealed after being sentenced to 15-40 years for aggravated assault, attempted criminal homicide, and weapons charges) was for a “gang initiation”…