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  1. #1
    hargroder's Avatar
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    Exclamation Almost pulled trigger on buglar at home

    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. I went out and told him to stop and he started running to a maroon older model Cadillac. I am a ccw and immediately pulled out my handgun and for a split second was going to shoot out the tires or the back window. I then realized my life was not in danger and put the gun back in my pocket. Upon entering my garage, I noticed that my boys Yamaha dirt bike and helmet was missing. By the time I got my keys for my truck The burglars were out of the neighborhood and could not be found. The responsibilities and liability of being a ccw suddenly hit me, if I would have shot at the vehicle I would probably be in jail now and would have to pay damages to their vehicle. I called the police and they made a report but could not find the vehicle in my small town. I only lost a dirt bike but could have lost a lot more if I used deadly force. The officer said I was lucky I didn't shoot because it is only justified if my life or someone else's life was in danger. I totally agree. So to everyone reading this please use a cool head in situations like these. I learned my lesson.
    Last edited by hargroder; 09-09-2008 at 11:00 AM. Reason: spelling

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  3. #2
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    you did the best you could. sorry about the loss of your son's bike. you probably prevented the loss of alot more though. maybe you can claim it under your homeowners insurance?

  4. #3
    hargroder's Avatar
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    RVL8, The price of homeowners insurance in Louisiana is very high so I have a $2500 deductible to keep the price down. The value of the dirtbike is $1000 so being reimbursed by the insurance company is not an option.

  5. #4
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    Wise decision Hargroder. A painful one but wise none the less. Good lesson for other CCW's on the site. Sorry for your boy's loss though.

  6. #5
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hargroder View Post
    I went out and told him to stop and he started running to a maroon older model Cadillac. I am a ccw and immediately pulled out my handgun and for a split second was going to shoot out the tires or the back window.
    I'll play Monday morning quarterback. This is a very cheap lesson. Why'd you pull the gun at all, let alone "almost pulled the trigger?" Because an unarmed guy was running away from you? As they say, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    Did he have the ability to harm you? Nope, not with no weapons in hand and running in the opposite direction.

    Did he have the opportunity to harm you? Nope, see above.

    Were you in jeopardy? Nope, see above.

    Without the above factors, you're not justified in shooting. The gun should have remained holstered, and you should have tried to get the vehicle's tag number. We have to think these things through before they happen, and not try to come up with something on the spot, under stress. This is part of that "mindset" thing instructors like to harp on.

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  7. #6
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    I am a ccw and immediately pulled out my handgun and for a split second was going to shoot out the tires or the back window.


    Good thing you didn't for several reasons, one being the possibility that the BG could have had a gun as well. It would have sucked bigtime if you would have pissed off the BG and he pulled out an AK47 and decided to shoot back.
    Last edited by unpecador; 09-09-2008 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Rephrased

  8. #7
    hargroder's Avatar
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    I know I was wrong because of the reasons listed above.I do not need to give ccw's a bad rep. I would do it different if I had to do it again. the license plate on the car was full of soot or mud and I couldn't read it. As I stated above the responsibilities of carrying a gun are great. I never should have pulled out my gun. I really feel like I let down my ccw instructer and all who have a ccw. It is a lesson learned for me. I just hope this doesn't happen to someone else and hopefully others will learn from my mistake.

  9. #8
    submoa is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by hargroder View Post
    I know I was wrong because of the reasons listed above.I do not need to give ccw's a bad rep. I would do it different if I had to do it again. the license plate on the car was full of soot or mud and I couldn't read it. As I stated above the responsibilities of carrying a gun are great. I never should have pulled out my gun. I really feel like I let down my ccw instructer and all who have a ccw. It is a lesson learned for me. I just hope this doesn't happen to someone else and hopefully others will learn from my mistake.
    Frankly, I appreciate your honesty. In this instance you have shared with us a story where you made a mistake and correctly identify the reasons why it was wrong. The only way your tale could be better would be if you confirmed your finger was out of the triggerguard the whole time.

    Much better than the stupid "its an AD, not an ND" mea culpas we often see.

  10. #9
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    I agree with submoa. Good lesson, and high marks for honesty. Please take my criticism in the spirit intended - that of learning.
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  11. #10
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    Glad you realized you were in the wrong before you got into a lot of trouble...
    Quote Originally Posted by hargroder View Post
    RVL8, The price of homeowners insurance in Louisiana is very high so I have a $2500 deductible to keep the price down. The value of the dirtbike is $1000 so being reimbursed by the insurance company is not an option.
    A dirtbike is considered a vehicle anyway, so Homeowners wouldn't cover it even if your deductible was lower. One of my friends at work found that out when his son's dirtbike was stolen a couple months ago.
    Bruce, Life Member: NRA, NCRPA, GRNC, GOA

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    hargroder's Avatar
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    My finger was never on the trigger, just outside of the trigger guard. I always preach to my kids that you never put your finger on the trigger until you find your target and look to see what is behind it and are ready to shoot. This still does not make my actions responsible. The more I think about my actions, the more guilty I feel. What if I would have pulled the trigger and killed someone in the car? I carry a Ruger LCP and with the very long trigger pull maybe if I was pulling the trigger I could have stopped the gun from shooting. Makes me wonder if I should be carrying at all. I will definitely practice more and try to take a class or two with a good instructer.

  13. #12
    hargroder's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the comments. If anyone criticizes me it is because I deserve it, and will take this as a learning experience.

  14. #13
    jeb21 is offline Member
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    You did well under a very difficult set of circumstances. I hope that you weathered the storm well also.

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    unpecador's Avatar
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    The more I think about my actions, the more guilty I feel.
    Makes me wonder if I should be carrying at all.
    Don't spend too much time worrying about these thoughts. The point is to learn from your mistake and move on but not to cloud your mind so much that you might be hesitant to pull the trigger when it's really necessary.

  16. #15
    RUT's Avatar
    RUT
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    >>Why'd you pull the gun at all, let alone "almost pulled the trigger?" Because an unarmed guy was running away from you?<<

    How do you know he wasn't running to his car to get HIS gun? I'd have had my gun out too.... just in case.

  17. #16
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RUT View Post
    How do you know he wasn't running to his car to get HIS gun? I'd have had my gun out too.... just in case.
    I'd just close the garage door. I'm not looking to fight.
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    Slick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    I'd just close the garage door. I'm not looking to fight.
    If you saw somebody run out of your garage you'd run inside and close the garage door? I think you're actions would be the exception and not the norm. Not saying which is right or wrong. Heck, your actions might be the smart decision. But I think most people would probably chase them just as a natural reaction. I know my first reaction would be to chase after them. I may instantly regret my decision though, lol.

  19. #18
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    *Sheepdog alert.*
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  20. #19
    unpecador's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    I'd just close the garage door.
    Excellent course of action.

  21. #20
    Slick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    *Sheepdog alert.*
    Not at all what I was saying. I just think that for most people it is a natural reaction to confront somebody in the posted situation. More of a reaction instead of thinking.

  22. #21
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slick View Post
    Not at all what I was saying. I just think that for most people it is a natural reaction to confront somebody in the posted situation. More of a reaction instead of thinking.
    Well, once again, we need to train. See Barrett Tillman quote above. Blindly pursuing a fleeing person, gun in hand, is not a good reaction in most circumstances.
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    Slick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    Well, once again, we need to train. See Barrett Tillman quote above. Blindly pursuing a fleeing person, gun in hand, is not a good reaction in most circumstances.
    I'm not even saying w/ a gun in hand. Just somebody in your home that you dont know, it is natural ( I think ) to confront them. Trust me, I know I'm no tough guy. I dont even play one on TV.

  24. #23
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slick View Post
    I'm not even saying w/ a gun in hand. Just somebody in your home that you dont know, it is natural ( I think ) to confront them. Trust me, I know I'm no tough guy. I dont even play one on TV.
    That's not at all the scenario described above, though. This was a guy fleeing and with no visible weapons, not someone inside the house. The OP took his gun out. RUT said he'd take his gun out. You said you'd chase the guy.

    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.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 09-11-2008 at 02:53 PM.
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  25. #24
    submoa is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    pull my cell phone out of my pocket,
    +1 on the cellphone...
    I'd add use the camera on the cellphone.

  26. #25
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    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.

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