As reported in the Feburary 2007 edition of "Tactical Talk", the Rangemaster newsletter (www.rangemaster.com):
One of our students (we’ll use his initials, LR) went through some courses here in 2001. He continued to practice, visiting Rangemaster several times over the next five years. Last February, his training was put to the test.
LR was in Columbus, GA, on business. LR lives in Memphis and has a Tennessee permit, which is valid in Georgia, so he was armed. LR went to a local shopping mall, with an associate, late in the afternoon. He was driving a rental SUV while in Columbus, and left it parked on the mall lot. LR and his associate exited the mall about 5:30pm, just as it was beginning to get dark, and headed for the SUV. As they approached the vehicle, LR noticed two young adult males walking in the opposite direction, toward the mall. Upon seeing LR and his friend, the two males changed their direction of travel from the direction toward the mall entrance to a direction to intercept LR at the SUV. LR immediately took note of this, and noted that the two were dressed in typical loose, baggy “urban thug” type clothing. LR tried to discreetly keep an eye on them as both he neared his SUV. Not wanting to turn his back to them, LR continued to the vehicle.
Both groups reached the vehicle about simultaneously, at which point the older looking of the two subjects reached under his sweatshirt for a pistol in the front of his waist. LR shouted “Don’t do it!”, as he immediately went for his own concealed Glock 22. As LR completed his presentation the subject had succeeded in getting his own gun out and was bringing it to bear on LR, so LR fired two rapid shots, both of which struck the offender in the upper center chest. The subject dropped immediately and expired on the scene. The second subject fled, and was not found.
LR and his associate moved to put a parked vehicle between themselves and the downed subject, and tried to watch over him while awaiting the arrival of police. LR holstered his pistol before the police arrived. Police took both LR and his associate to headquarters for questioning separately, then released both the same evening when their memories of the incident were the same and their statements matched the physical evidence.
I spoke with LR in person again recently, and although this event took place a year ago, he is still understandably upset that he was forced to take someone’s life. His eyes still redden and fill with tears when he discusses the incident, but he is certain he did the right thing, and is glad that it was his adversary, rather than him lying dead on the pavement. He stated that although the suspect said nothing, it was obvious what was happening.
The lessons from this incident include:
BE ARMED! LR certainly did not expect to be involved in a shooting on that day, or at that mall. You don’t get to pick the day—someone else will make that decision.
BE ALERT! LR noticed these guys the instant they changed direction from that of someone going to the mall, to that of someone intercepting him. Would YOU have noticed that while simply walking to your vehicle, chatting with a friend? If your answer is “No”, you’d better work on your mindset and observation skills. Your pistol skills are moot unless your observation skills tell you there is a potential problem.
IF ATTACKED, FIGHT! A thug drawing a gun on you as you approach an SUV is OBVIOUSLY robbing or car-jacking you at the point of a deadly weapon. Don’t wait until after he mortally wounds you to take action. The elements of Ability, Intent, and Imminent Jeopardy could all be summed up in the blink of an eye in this case. The time to act is NOW.
THE DANGER IS NOT OVER JUST BECAUSE THE FIGHT IS! LR moved to cover and holstered his pistol as soon as it was safe to do so. Responding police initially treated him as a suspect, because at that time, that is exactly what he was. The police will not know it was a justified self defense shooting until after they arrive, sort everyone out, look at the evidence, and interview participants and witnesses.
The article can be found at; http://www.rangemaster.com/newsletter/FEB2007News.pdf
Lessons learned: The person, 'LR', did everything right though I have just one question...
His observation skills were good and obvioulsy spot on. But with his spidey signals going as based on the input, why continue heading toward danger knowing he's 2 on 1 with a liability to boot via his unarmed and assumedly unaware friend. Why not tell the the friend hey buddy I have a bad feeling, just trust me on this...go wide left (or right) and head back into the mall directly and quickly. They turn and walk to the mall toward safety while LR keeps the two BG's in his peripheral vision. Staying away and avoiding trouble when you detect it seems to make more sense than walking into it and fighting your way through it.
Regardless the lessons learned here include being aware of your environment and listening to that little voice in your head, gut feeling, or 'spidey sense' that tells you something isn't quite right.