When I fired off my post on 6/12 the cops had literally just left. My Adeline levels were high and I still had red hot blood racing through my veins. I also had a very mixed bag of emotions inside me. I don’t know how good of a job I would have done conveying information at that time because I was in a very excited state of mind.
The IncidentI have been working the night shift at work for about 9 months so my “free time” is in the mornings and early afternoon before I go to work. I was preparing for a benchrest competition and was in my workshop loading ammo. Because benchrest ammunition is designed for extreme accuracy, the bullets are specially fitted to the gun which they are intended to be used in. I had my benchrest gun in the shop with me to measure the proper chamber lengths.A little after 9am I looked up and saw someone walking up my driveway. This is not unusual as my driveway is long and most delivery drivers prefer to walk their packages around to the back door rather than try to turn around in my drive. I called out, “Hey I’m over here”. He didn’t seem to hear me. My first thought was, “not a big deal”. I finished up the process I was doing and went out to meet him. As I was walking out of my shop I noticed a couple of things. First, he wasn’t carrying a package or letter. He seemed to be younger than most of the delivery guys that stop in. Second, he was looking in the windows and doors. Third, he was twitching and seemed to have a slight tremor, similar to a person coming off of a drug trip. I was about to call out again, “I’m over here”, when he opened the door and walked in the house.I ran back into my shop. I grabbed the only firearm I had, and the single bullet I had just loaded and ran for the house. I went in the back door very cautiously. I saw the kid starting up the stairs to the bed rooms. I took aim. He didn’t seem to see me, and went upstairs. I took advantage of the situation to retrieve a more serviceable handgun from my unlocked gun safe.Properly armed, I started trough the kitchen, gun at the ready as I turned the kid came bounding down the stairs. I yelled for him to stop, ordered him to “get on the floor”. He sat down, Indian style by my dining room table. I called 911. I told the dispatcher that I was holding an intruder at gun point and gave her my address. At that point she controlled the conversation. I however, firmly controlled the suspect. When he tried to get up, I ordered him back down. During the time on the phone, the dispatch officers received another call concerning another situation in my neighborhood. They informed me of that situation. A teenager who is severely mentally handicapped had wandered off and was lost in the area. I was asked to describe the suspect. Which I did. I then asked her the young man’s name. When I asked the suspect if that was his name, he just sat on the floor, like he had been. I informed 911 that my suspect was unresponsive. They told me that the kids mother said he wasn’t able to talk or speak at all.
I had been staring at the kid for the last couple of minutes while I was on the phone. I decided that this kid was not a threat. At that point I secured my weapon and told the kid he could get up. He did and started opening the fridge and drawers. He went back upstairs and jumped on my sons bed. I went outside to wait for the police. When they arrived I told them what was going on and they took over, and safely returned the boy to his mother.
I’m a hobbyist when it comes to firearms. I’m no Rambo. This incident has enforced just how much the opposite is true. I live blissfully unaware of any potential violence and am largely unprepared to deal with it on a day to day basis. According to Col Cooper’s color code, this is a condition white mentality.
I’m sloppy when it comes to personal security.A.) I don’t normally carry a firearm. The only reason I had a firearm when I needed on was because I happened to have one to check the chamber lengths of the ammo I was loading.
B.) I was able to retrieve a loaded handgun from an unlocked safe. The intruder could have taken that same handgun, had he been so inclined.
The weapon you have is the weapon you will use. If you want a proper gun, you must provide it. This means its not enough to own good tools. You have to have them with you to use them.
In terms of gun handling, I functioned flawlessly. I achieved proper grip, sight picture etc. without ever being aware that I was doing those things. It was only after I was on the phone with 911 that it even occurred to me that I was in a proper tactical stance. I don’t remember going into it. I had a very firm grip on my weapon. I know this because when the cops arrived I was holding my hands palms out towards them and away from my body. When the officer gave me the nod, I looked at my hands before I put them down. The diamond grip pattern was still very clear. I have no doubt that recoil would be controlled and follow up shots would have been flawless.
In terms of making the shot. I knew exactly at what point the trigger would have been pulled and the threat stopped.
In terms of communication. Everything went according to the book, both in terms of dealing with the suspect and in dealing with 911 and the cops. One side effect was that I was hoarse for a couple of days from making sure I was understood. Some sort of hands free phone would have been an asset.
If you have something like this happen and call the cops, you will make the news. They will get it wrong. In my case they were kind in their misreporting of the facts, so I’m pleased with what made the paper.
In the heat of the moment, I didn’t do everything right.
First, there was no need for me to confront a (as I believed) doped up robber. The kids weren’t at home and I was only protecting my stuff in the house. I have a phone in the shop and could have called the cops.
Second, I charged after a suspect that could have been robbing me for drug money. The first place someone like that would look would be the safe. The cash was right by the loaded handgun. Talk about genius. I had a single shot bolt action benchrest rig with one bullet, he had ready access to my personal defensive handgun. My safety never entered my mind. The smart thing would have been to call for help and wait for the cops in my shop. Let them charge in. That might sound like cowardice. It would have been the smartest course of action. It also never occurred to me till much latter.
Everything I did was legal and proper. The cops were great. The interview was very brief and they seemed pleased with my actions and were affirming of what I told them. Still, things could have turned out differently and not nearly as pleasant for all involved. Which brings me to a thought I have had several times. I’m pleased with my not being dead, hurt or robbed and with not having harm come to my family. I’ve heard it said, that you don’t know what you will do in a moment like this until after you’ve done it. I disagree. I knew at the time where the shoot/don’t shoot line was. Had the kid crossed it, I knew what I was going to do and where I was going to place my shots. At a distance of less than 10 feet (I’ve since measured it) none of my shots would have missed. My strategy was the Mozambique drill. He would not have survived. I have thanked God more than once that He delivered this boy from my hand. Had I killed him, it would have been legal and justified according to the law. It would have been a burden for me. I’m very glad it didn’t come to that. I'm also glad that this was more drama than danager and that it had the best possible ending for everyone involved.