I was almost involved in 2 shootings (part 1 of 2)

Not open for further replies.

Eric F

Jul 23, 2007
I was on my way home from my folk’s house Thursday and sitting in heavy traffic. I crossed the bridge and I had to go to the restroom and I was thirsty so I thought Sonic (drive in burger shop) would be a great stop. I pull into a parking spot make my order and get out of the car and go to the restroom. As I am standing at the urinal I hear what I thought to be some firecrackers and my first thought was why in the world would any one be popping firecrackers with all the warnings and current brushfires in the area. As a firefighter I was a bit upset at the carelessness. I finished up and still hearing the pops I had all intentions to go out and chew some one a new one:fire: boy was I wrong about that!:what: As I swing the door open exiting the restroom the only thing I could see was a person with a gun in their hand shooting. I can not remember seeing anything else not even a description of the person shooting. Just a gun being fired! I immediately retreated into the mens room and drew my 1911 knocked the safety off and made sure I had one in the tube. I next moved my spare mag from the back pocket to the front pocket. There was a pause so I went back to the main door again and opened it and cautiously peaked out then bang!:eek: Another shot and I think it hit the exterior wall just to the left of the door but I am not too sure. I could hear it hit the wall so I closed the door and waited for a few seconds. I did not hear anything a few yells and unintelligible screaming but no shots. I opened the door again and saw one guy on the ground and another obviously shot man in a car leaning on the steering wheel.
I ran to my car with my gun in my hand (not too smart in after thought) jumped in and got out of there. As side notes don’t let any one ever tell you a Hybrid is not a fast car!:D I was driving away and thought I should have stayed and helped the shot/ injured because I am an EMT and have extensive experience with treating gun shot victims. In fact it’s a state law but I count my actions as scene was not safe. About 10 miles down the road I realized I ran by several people with a gun in my hand and ran off down the road in my car.:uhoh: So I called the dispatch center and explained what happened and they took a statement over the phone and they said they would contact me if they needed any information. It was a 10 minute interview with a police officer. I must have told the guy about 5 times I have a 1911 in 38 super and I did not fire my gun.(38 super being slightly uncommon) They took all my contact information and was done with it.

My lessons learned.1. Find a safe defendable spot and stay there 2.just keep the gun loaded and then you wont have to worry about checking 3.if you can escape safely then do so. 4. In a situation like that holster your gun before you run by folks with a gun in your hand especially when you can see the shooting was over (one guy had a head shot and he was done)

The whole event seemed like 20 minutes but in all actuality it was more like 1 and a half minutes tunnel vision blinded me so much I could not even get a visual of the first shooter I saw. How can this be prevented?
ISLE OF WIGHT - One man was killed and three were injured in a shootout Thursday between men in two cars at a Sonic restaurant in Carrollton.

Witnesses described the scene in which a white Honda screeched into a parking lot of the restaurant on Carrollton Boulevard just after 5 p.m. and was cornered by a Jeep.

As customers lined up in the drive-in areas to buy cheeseburgers and sodas, men got out of the Jeep and began firing at men in the Honda, with at least one of the men in the Honda returning fire, witnesses said.

There was also a physical altercation outside of the cars between at least two of the men.

Related links
Sonic Shooting Photo There were two people in the Honda and at least two in the Jeep, said Isle of Wight spokesman Don Robertson.

One man was airlifted to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and the other three transported by ambulance to Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News.

One of the men later died at a hospital, but Robertson did not release his identity and didn't know whether he was an occupant of the Honda or the Jeep.

"We're trying to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together," Robertson said. "We're getting conflicting information and we're trying to sift through all of it."

The incident occurred at the Eagle Harbor Shopping Center, about a mile from the James River Bridge on Route 17.

Several investigators from the Isle of Wight sheriff's office, Newport News police and the Virginia State Police
were still at the scene hours after the incident. They searched for bullet casings, helped by a floodlight from a fire truck.

One eyewitness said she was buying food at one of many drive-in areas at the restaurant, when the Honda came in, pulling in to a booth going the wrong way. The Jeep came in behind them, cut the Honda off, and two men jumped out and "put guns in the face" of the men in the Honda.

She ducked upon hearing several shots, she said. After things got quiet, she said, she poked her head up. The driver of the Honda — whom she knew from school — asked her if she was OK.

"Then I heard someone say, 'Hey, did you see that?'" she said, and then heard a barrage of shots into the back of her own car. She was not injured.

The witness said the driver of the Honda was shot in the chest, and told her to call 911. The passenger of the Honda was shot in the head, the witness said.

Robertson said the occupants of the Jeep drove from the scene, but called 911 after realizing that they, too, needed medical attention.

A Sonic customer, Barbara Morgan, said she was in the parking lot reading a menu when the shooting started.

"I heard pop, pop, pop," she said. "I said, 'They're shooting off fireworks, and it's not even the Fourth of July — and it's not even night time,'" she said.

Kelby Saunders, an assistant football coach at Smithfield High School, said one of the men in the Honda, Tyrone Seaborne, 18, played cornerback on the football team. The other man in the Honda, J.T. Outlaw, 21, once played basketball for the school, Saunders said.

Investigators have not yet developed a motive for the crime.
That was all over the news (I live in VA Beach) these past couple of days. There were MANY shots fired (at least 25 that i could see from the scene footage...but I think up to 30+ shots may have been fired) and you did well to make it out unscathed.

yes, perhaps you should have holstered but that is a minor thing that you can correct now that you have hindsight. Hindsight is a great teacher.

I (we...if I may presume to speak for all of us here at THR) are glad you are okay.

BTW: as for the tunnel vision....not much you can really do about that. Only experience in those situations will fix that. And nobody wants to actively seek out those kinds of experiences.
Sounds like you pretty much panicked.
UM WELL YEAH! what would you do stand there and ask for a milk shake? LOL every one was panicked.
I am not about to criticize his actions.

I can arm-chair quarterback the "wisdom" of going out with a handgun exposed. Very well could have got you shot.

I can point out that it would have been more responsible with your EMT training to make yourself a resource in the aftermath of this tragedy.

But you know what?

Hindsight is 20/20. It also doesn't contain the emotional component that existed when you were in the scene.

There are some things you'd likely WISH that you had done differently, but who in hell hasn't had things that they wished they did differently?

I think you'll be a more actualized person from the soul-searching this has prompted within you, and you'll likely find that you have grown should you find yourself in similar straits (god forbid).

I'm just glad you didn't get hurt in the event, or when you left holding the handgun.

-- John
Just wow. With that many shots going off, I think I'd have just stayed in the rest room with gun drawn and pointed at the door, trying to get into as small a profile for flying, penetrating rounds as possible.
That is so scary. Sounds like you learned a lot from it. One thing immediately comes to mind, and that's the possibility of your drawing fire by having a weapon out and visible (from bad guys or good guys). To me, since I'm not a LEO, I'm going to be as low profile as possible, although when I decided it might be safe to leave the rest room, I probably would have the gun in hand but under a shirt or in pocket, if possible.

Scary, glad you're OK.
I can point out that it would have been more responsible with your EMT training to make yourself a resource in the aftermath of this tragedy.
I can arm-chair quarterback the "wisdom" of going out with a handgun exposed. Very well could have got you shot.
If I were on duty and respond to a shooting we park well down the road until police clear the sceene. Rule no.1 in emt is the sceene safe? In this case I was not sure. I did not know if the shooting was over with or if it was just a long pause while people were reloading. As it turns out it was done every one involved had been shot at that point. Its a tough thing to find your self in the middle of some one elses gun fight. I knew I wanted to get away from there and I did not want to get confronted by a person with a gun while mine was in stuffed in my pants. I had no idea what was really going on if it was a robery or anything else. My flawed thinking at the time is I need to get from here to my car and I am not sure who is on who's side so my plan was to go to the car and try not to get involved. Yes I seen now I should have stayed right where I was it was behind 2 steel doors and atleast 2 brick walls. far safer then a few thin sheets of car metal. I could toss a bunch of what if's in the story but all in all it worked for me this time but I dont think I would do it again like that. I have replayed the whole thing in my head alot. I have made several decisions and next time I will find a defendable position and stay there.

You made a good point that I was thinking about as I responded to you.

Had you started to provide assistance, I cannot believe that you would have had any certainty that this was over and you were safe.

The replaying in your mind has given you, I believe, your best course of action.

I hope none of us are in that situation and I thank you for telling your accounts.

-- John
Your conclusions are pretty much spot-on. So, this was a learning experience. They being the best kind becuase you are alive afterwords.

Thanks for taking the time to write up an honest assessment of the event. We can all learn something from your experience.

Fortunately, you were armed and probably would have defended your life if the "events" came your way (into the rest room). If you recall the infamous North Hollywood, CA Bank of America shootout between two armoured bandits and the LAPD, I had to sit that one out in the parking lot across the street unarmed and "worried". So, it is better to have than to not have.
You will probably play woulda, coulda, shoulda in your mind a few times. The monday morning QBs will also. But, you are safe, certainly didn't want to be part of a gunfight involving third parties, and followed up by informing the police of what you saw etc. That's good enough for me.
Sir, I personally would only hope I did no more wrong than you did. Which in my opinion was not much wrong. Maybe leaving the security offered by restroom, gun in hand? But I was not there, and I only hope I would do as well under stress, and gun fire.
FCFC said:
Sounds like you pretty much panicked.

I saw guys like you ring the bell/blow the horn every day. They found out that the real thing is quite a bit different than their action-hero fantasies.

Those who've been there know what I'm talking about in terms of ringing the bell or blowing the horn.

You, FCFC, I'm certain do not.

the guys who wins is the guy who gets home alive at the end of the day. you did alright; you have people at home depending on you, they're what's important.
what I don't understand - why do so many bystanders describe gunfire as a "popping" noise?

Maybe these guys were shooting .22s?

The geography of that area is rather wide-open. Gunfire, even from something much larger than 22 caliber, has a "pop" sound, unlike the boom that most people are accoustomed to hearing when shooting in confined areas like an indoor or covered firing range. I have been only 25 meters away from sustained rifle fire and the report can sound quite "isolated" and remote...hence the "popping" sound that bystanders describe.
Sounds like the Eric F did all right, and the best he could. I'm sure most of us don't consider being in front of a urinal at a Sonic when rounds start popping off outside as one of our primary scenarios.

But in retrospect, thanks to Eric's experience, it looks like the safest thing to do in such a situation is stay put.

You probably won't help anyone by going out there and trying to analyze who the aggressor and defender are in a shootout in the span of 3 seconds, before you catch a bullet. Especially when both parties seemed to have been your run-of-the-mill punks, anyway.

If the gunfire lasted over a few minutes, and I was stuck in a reeking john at a drive through, the situation might really become serious, and it might be time to put an end to it. ; )

-Sans Authoritas
Those who've been there know what I'm talking about in terms of ringing the bell or blowing the horn

But then again so does anyone W/ more than a passing familiarity W/ a Tom Clancy novel.

As for your AAR Eric I'm POSITIVE you panicked, Let's see first fire fight, no clear idea what was going on , probably felt trapped in the john. What the HELL else were you supposed to do?

But you overcame the initial panic formulated a plan and implemented it. Good job I haven't read your 2nd thread but I bet you implemented lessons learned.
The one thing I always stress when I coach people about SD situations is that if there is any way to extricate yourself from it, take it. To get out of a set of circumstances involving gunfire, safely and without firing a shot, is to win.

You did fine, Eric!

Most of us play the "What If" game in our heads a lot, trying to imagine every possible scenario, and decide how to react. Now I'll have to add the Urinal Dance to my Scenario file! :p

As for the comment about you panicking, ignore him. Some people aren't very High Road, no matter where they post. He probably works at a mall, and wears Kevlar jammies. :evil:

Yeah, maybe in retrospect transiting to your car gun in hand wasn't a good idea. OTOH, transiting to your car without it could have gotten you killed too. As far as I'm concerned you you didn't get hurt, fire any shots, or get arrested. Especially in light of the fact that you're not LE and have no previous experience with such situations ya done good (sic). As far as hanging around to administer first aid, the situation was NOT secure and you have no obligation to get yourself killed.
Not open for further replies.