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Friday Night, Downtown Houston

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Hazwaste, Feb 15, 2009.

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  1. Hazwaste

    Hazwaste Member

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    Just wanted to share something that happened to my wife and me last Friday.

    We were out celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary in downtown Houston. First dinner followed by a show. The show was walking distance to the restaurant and it was a pretty nice night (with just a few sprinkles) so we decided to hoof it over to the show and work off the veal picatta, and leave the truck back at the restaurant.

    The show was fine, and I offered to go get the truck so she wouldn't have to walk all the way back to the restaurant. At this point it was around 10:00 p.m., drizzly, and the streets were nearly empty of pedestrians. She decided she didn't want to wait alone, so she came with me on the walk back.

    I've had a CCW for 9 years and have never touched the weapon while carrying concealed except to put it on or take it off.

    That night I was carrying my P3AT in a pocket holster in my front pocket, since it was a warm night and there was no good way to conceal my XD. We had walked two blocks when we stopped to check Google Maps on the Crackberry to make sure of where we were going. Since it was nighttime in downtown Houston, my head was already on a swivel as I quickly checked the map against the street signs, then looked around to assure the safety of both of us.

    It was at this point I noticed a fairly large (probably 6'1"; I'm 5'7"), rough looking urban dweller approaching straight at us from across the street at a swift walk. There were open spaces all around (we were quite alone on the street except for him), and we were not on a corner, so I felt there was something not right about him going straight at us like that.

    While he was about 30 feet away my initial wariness turned to heightened awareness that something was not right. At this point I slipped my hand into the gun pocket and pulled the P3AT far enough out of the holster so that the grip was past the edge of my pocket, just so it wouldn't hang if I had to draw, but not to a point where it was visible. By this point the fellow was in a pretty good trot and muttering something very quietly, apparently attempting to get me to move toward him to hear him better.

    I kept thinking that surely he's not going to get any closer, but he was. When he was around 10' away, my wife did exactly what I've asked her to do if something like this ever happened, and moved behind me. I realized that I had to do something, so I raised my other hand toward him, and yelled at the top of my lungs "STEP AWAY FROM US NOW!!!", and put myself into a more stable position, while leaving my gun hand partially in my pocket and gripping the gun with my finger on the side of the trigger. I did not want him to see the weapon at that point, in case this was an innocent encounter.

    He was startled, and he stopped. He then started slowly coming closer again saying "Hey man, I just wanted to find out if you'd...", at which point I cut him off again by yelling "STEP AWAY NOW!!!". He then walked to my right, appearing to try to circle around behind us and said "You don't need to be afraid!". This only made me more concerned. I then drew the P3 out far enough where the trigger guard had cleared the edge of my pocket and my finger was now fully on the trigger.

    I told him "I'm not afraid of anything, but I'm telling you for your own good to step away from us." At this point he called me an ******* and backed up. Fine. But this is one ******* who did not intend to let this guy get in close and be in a position to harm my wife.

    I indicated to my wife to cross the street away from this guy in a fast walk, while I walked behind her and watched the guy. He yelled another insult as we walked away.

    Was this an innocent encounter? That's not what my gut was telling me. I felt that he was a threat, mainly due to his insistence on trying to get in close.

    It was the first time I have EVER had to put my hand on my weapon, especially due to a perceived threat. I did not like it one bit, but I'm so thankful that I had that option.
     
  2. mcwjr13

    mcwjr13 Member

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    Ah downtown Houston is such a fabulous place, there is no way to tell what the guys intentions were. You felt threatened and reacted how you felt was neccessary. No one was hurt, learn what you can from it and move on.
     
  3. Yosemite Sam

    Yosemite Sam Member

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    100% of my close encounters (including the one encounter that turned into full-blown violent assault) were when I was on foot. I think in situations like yours it's OK to be "lazy" and drive and re-park your car even if it's a block. In fact, I had the same innocent thoughts going through my head "Hey, it sure is a beautiful night out for a stroll." Well, it's also a beautiful night out for bad guys, too.

    Glad you and wife are OK.
     
  4. blutarsky

    blutarsky Member

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    just curious -- whereabouts in "downtown" was this?
     
  5. viperstarbuck

    viperstarbuck Member

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    Well done. You did everything right.
     
  6. Cuda

    Cuda Member

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    The only thing I might say is that I would not have let him get as close as ten feet before I said something, that is just to close if he were to try something.


    Glad you guys are ok.

    C
     
  7. cassandrasdaddy

    cassandrasdaddy Member

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    i'm known to be hyper critical and you get no noise from me. nice job on being aware and catching it early enough to save both you and the potential bad guy from getting hurt. i'm not real concerned for his wellbeing but the way you handled it kept him hole free and that affects your well being. i need my wife to read this. was it hard to train your wife? mines resistant
     
  8. Prince Yamato

    Prince Yamato Member

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    If it was an innocent encounter, he would have called the cops on you and you would have had to explain the whole misunderstanding.

    You did the right thing.
     
  9. ChemicalArts

    ChemicalArts Member

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    Usually when someone approaches me like that, they start telling me a story about how they're from out of town and that they ran out of gas.

    The usual MO is to not stop talking and make you feel uncomfortable until you give them some money.

    I usually go with "Leave me alone."

    If they keep talking, I say it with an angry voice, "LEAVE ME ALONE!"

    It's hard to tell what his intentions were, but it sounds like he was approaching way too fast. Often these guys on the streets don't understand personal space and the normal rules of interacting with people.

    I'm glad that you were able to stop him with words. It sounds like it was seconds away from major escalation.
     
  10. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    It is for situations like this that concealed handguns and associated training were devised.

    Congratulations on:

    1) having obtained a permit nine years ago,
    2) having established your personal rules of engagement beforehand,
    3) having determined beforehand with your wife what her actions should be in this kind of situation,
    4) having equipped yourself with a reliable handgun and a proper holster,
    5) having identified the possible threat while it was still far enough away,
    6) having used verbal, nonlethal means of gaining initial control of the situation, and
    7) having resolved the situation without anyone being hurt.

    I would add a couple of suggestions to those already posted:

    1) After you gained some separation from this individual, you should have considered reported the event to law enforcement. You mentioned that you felt threatened by this individual. This is assault. You and/or your wife could have pressed charges for this event.
    2) Consider wardrobe changes that would allow you to carry your XD everywhere you go. The P3AT is a fine gun, but a 9mm/.40/.45 with a minimum of 10+1 is better than a 6+1 .380 or 7+1 .32 acp.
    3) If she isn't and doesn't, ask your wife if she would be interested in also becoming licensed and beginning to carry.

    Again, congratulations to both of you on being able to walk away from this experience, without having to use deadly force.
     
  11. Rockwell1

    Rockwell1 member

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    You'll never know.
    But it was certainly appropriately handled.
    On second thought, ten feet was a little close twenty one feet is considered close enough for him to get to you before you can get the gun out.
     
  12. MaterDei

    MaterDei Member

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    I've been approached by indigent types too many times to count in downtown Houston. I've never had anybody do more than panhandle. I've never had one approach me at a 'trot' though. I suspect this guy was just a bum looking for a few quarters for another 40. Nevertheless, you were definitely within your rights to do what you did.

    Veal Picatta. Did you go to Birraporettis?

    Happy Anniversary
     
  13. Spreadfire Arms

    Spreadfire Arms Member

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    good job. didn't overreact and did what needed to be done. as a CHL Instructor and TCLEOSE Use of Force Instructor (OC, ASP, Firearms Instructor) i think it was clearly the right thing to do.

    had you been carrying OC i think you also could have justified using OC as well.
     
  14. Hazwaste

    Hazwaste Member

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    Location:
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    Just to answer the questions:

    1. Houston theater district.
    2. My wife and I are like-minded with regard to personal safety. Since she has a CCW, but was not carrying that night she had no problem stepping back and letting me be the bullet/knife shield. :)
    3. Birraporettis, yes. Nice place.

    One other thing I did not mention. When we reached the entrance to the parking area we looked back one more time and the guy was standing in the same area where we had been, and another couple was crossing the street onto his side. He began walking toward them. We watched the couple and saw them immediately pick up their pace and go off diagonally away from the guy. He didn't follow them after that, so we decided to get home.
     
  15. Davionmaximus

    Davionmaximus Member

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    Ahh Biaparettis and the Alley Theater I presume... Nice places in not so nice section of town @ night...
    You handled the situation PERFECTLY...
    If he had a legitimate question he could have asked it from 15 feet away. At night that section of town is DARK>... I would not allow anyone to get that close to me either.
    Good example why I scold my wife for not carrying @ times.. She has the license and usually carrys.. But when you need it will be the one time you won't have it. Times like when you are in the Theater District at night...
     
  16. expvideo

    expvideo Member

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    Well handled. The guy could have had the most innocent of intentions, but he disregarded your commands to stay back, and that is a serious red flag. If he did intend to do you harm, then he obviously picked the wrong couple and the situation ended well for everyone. If he didn't intend to do you harm, then he has learned a valuable lesson about invading a stranger's comfort zone and not complying with commands to stay back. Either way, you handled this encounter well.


    Happy anniversary.
     
  17. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    Happy anniversary, congrats.

    My only advice is in future, instead of your wife moving behind you, either you or her need to take a flanking position on the bad guy. The point is, if it goes hot, then she isn't directly in a line of fire, but more over, bad guys DO NOT LIKE IT, usually mutter something stupid and scatter.


    I don't have a problem with how you handled it, we live in a world that our grandparents wouldn't understand anymore. There are people on the back of milk cartons that didn't act the way you did and should have. There are people that have some lingering guilt feelings about not helping someone when they could have... I will take the guilt feeling over the milk carton.
     
  18. Davionmaximus

    Davionmaximus Member

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    I agree 100% about the armed spouse taking a flanking position... that's what I have trained mine to do.
     
  19. Stirling XD

    Stirling XD Member

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    Congratulations on your 21st anniversary!

    I think you handled things well. But let me add this. Get your bearings before you leave the building (theatre, restaurant, parking garage, etc.). If you look lost, you look like a tourist and an easy mark. While the BG may not have known you were looking for checking directions, I bet he was eyeing your blackberry along with the wallet. Of course, it does sound like he was out to accost anyone that walked by so checking your blackberry may have been irrelevant.

    Good job!
     
  20. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    Good job congrads on 21 years and keep them at 20 feet next time.
     
  21. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Member

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    Great situational awareness and use of verbal commands. Well done.

    Oh, and happy anniversary.
     
  22. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    Awesome... awesome reaction.

    I hope I would have that appropriate a response if I'm unlucky enough to be caught up in an encounter like that. Good job!!
     
  23. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Only thing I'd add has been mentioned already, call the cops when things like this happen.

    The first person to call the cops is called the "complainant", the other one is called the "suspect" :)

    You want to be first.
     
  24. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Yeah, something was not right there for sure. If nothing else, he was ignorant. I am a big man, physicaly and I am aware of this. When I have to approach a stranger, I make my intent clear, and from a distance. I also do so with a smile and manners.

    It is easy to intimidate someone, not so easy to calm someone.

    Sounds like you did the right thing. I hope I would handle it as well in your situation.

    Leroy
     
  25. shdwfx

    shdwfx Member

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    Go Bucks!
    Careful.
     
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