To hell with all that. I'd just close the garage, pull my cell phone out of my pocket, call the cops, and try to give them a good description of the car and its occupants. There's nothing a guy could carry out of my garage worth $50,000 in attorney's fees.
I am neither LEO nor trainer, but I think I'd still point out a couple of things. We know by hindsight that the intruder was the only one person; if there had been a look out who had not come into view yet, perhaps one who might have been armed, the presence in hand of the OP's firearm was not necessarily a bad thing. The fact that he had his finger outside the trigger guard and had declined to fire when not confronted seems to show good scenario discipline even if he's second guessing now. Of course if there is no way that a second intruder could have been involved, then my speculation is clearly wrong.
I am no expert, I'm just mulling this scene as presented by the OP. If I'm wrong please please please correct me.
It is very easy for those of us who were not involved in moment to play Monday morning quarterback. Are there things he could have done differently - yes- but he did not get hurt, the fleeing felon did not get shot, a small amount of property was lost, but that was it, no police, no jail, no need for lawyers. I believe he did great. Especially, given all of the emotions that were running through his head at the time.
I am sure that he will learn from what happen and will benefit from this experience.
BTW I am a lawyer, I teach the legal use of deadly force, and if I had a stranger in my garage, my gun would be in my hand. I would not simply close my garage door because once I have identified the threat, I would want to know what the threat was going to do. Is he leaving the property? Is he simply going around back? is he running to the car to get a weapon or back up? Where is my family? ect . . . Closing the garage door until you know that information is simply putting your head in the sand and hoping that everything works out.
I do agree that all's well that ends well.And so can we, which is why he posted it and why we are discussing it.I am sure that he will learn from what happen and will benefit from this experience.Once again, the guy was not in his garage. The guy was fleeing/retreating to a vehicle, with no visible weapons. Why would you pull a gun on a guy who is moving away from you, leaving your property, has no weapons you can see, and isn't even carrying anything he may have stolen from your garage? Maybe he's a Jehovah's Witness who wants to give you a copy of Watchtower, maybe he's a salesman, maybe he's a "community organizer," maybe he's at the wrong house, whatever. Do you whip out your pistol every time you see a stranger in your driveway?BTW I am a lawyer, I teach the legal use of deadly force, and if I had a stranger in my garage, my gun would be in my hand.I can observe him much more safely from a window in my house. Then he can't turn around and a hit/stab me. A wall or door is way more effective than a gun at stopping impact/edged weapons. This also gives me distance/time to call the police, who can come identify "the threat."I would not simply close my garage door because once I have identified the threat, I would want to know what the threat was going to do.
Let's hypothetically say he IS a threat and I am gawking at him with the garage door open. He turns and shoots me, since his action beats my reaction (or if you like cool-guy jargon, he "got inside my OODA loop"). I am rendered hors de combat and go down. He and his buddies now have unimpeded access to my open home, and my family inside, without having to do so much as defeat a locked door. How am I winning now?So you're just going to stand out in the open, gawking at the guy with your pistol hanging out? To what end? Are you going to shoot him if he goes around back? Can you shoot an unarmed man for trespassing?Is he leaving the property? Is he simply going around back? is he running to the car to get a weapon or back up? Where is my family? ect . . . Closing the garage door until you know that information is simply putting your head in the sand and hoping that everything works out.
Wouldn't it be better to be inside the house, making sure all the doors are locked, verifying the safety of the family, and maybe fetching a shotgun/carbine - in case he actually does transform into a threat?
>>So you're just going to stand out in the open, gawking at the guy with your pistol hanging out?<<
You're damned right I would, and I bet he'd never come back either!
Stating that we need to keep emotions in check is a valid point but we must still recognize that there will be emotions fear, anger, confusion and so on. We do have to work through them to think clearly, but those emotions will still have to be dealt with. Our original poster dealt with these emotions, and ultimately made the right decision, not to shoot.
An uninvited stanger on my property is a potential threat. I am allowed legally to respond to that threat, hence the weapon in my hand. This weapon in my hand gives me a chance in case things turn violent. As you said "action beats reaction". Say for instance if he turns towards me, and draws a weapon. I don't want to get into a quick draw competition with anyone, especially with my slow reflexes. Gun out finger on the outside of the trigger guard, weapon in a ready position, but not pointing at the intruder sounds about right to me.
As for the gawking in the open, give me a break and a slight bit of credit. It is possible to keep the garage open, and observe the stranger, while not exposing yourself to potential fire. Hell, we practice this type of drill every month at IDPA. Cover, concealment, and line of sight.
The bottom line is that I do not want to lose sight of this intruder until he leaves my property. If nothing else maybe get a good description of him for the police, and again to make sure that he does leave my property. If he has a vehicle, maybe get a description of the vehicle and the license plate.
As for all of the possible innocent explanations for this intrusion, lets look again at the original post:
"Not sure where to post this but on Sunday August 31, 2008 after securing everything for preparation of hurricane Gustov I went to close my garage door and noticed a black man walking out of my garage."
The salesman -ect does not fly under those circumstances. The man was in the garage. Solicitors do not do that With a hurricane on the way there really is not reason for any stranger to be on my property.
Of course you do not pull your pistol on every stranger on your property, but in these circumstances as described you have a right to be suspicious/ threatened.
Please understand that in my opinion the best confrontation is one that does not ever escalate to violence. The original poster handle the situation well.