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A very good friend of mine was down in Santa Ana last week on business and was the victim of a 211 (armed robbery) - Real interesting story, I'm going to try to re-tell it to the best of my ability. Now, please understand that I will be vague on some parts, the two suspects are hard core bangers down there and I wish no problems on the friend of mine. Besides - I wasn't there and do not know everything.



So here we go...



A very good friend of mine retired after 30 years of wearing a badge from a city here in Central CA. Date of retirement 2-26-07. While he officially wore the badge he was involved in 3 officer involved shootings (I like to argue with him about that, the last one in 00 or 01 was him getting shot in the forearm and never returning fire. SWAT responded and the suspect surrendered after a couple of hours of standoff. Luckily he is fully recovered from that. But I think he was still only involved in 2.5 officer involved shootings...). He has been the dept. firearms instructor for over 20 years. He is/was the academy firearms instructor and has taught for other depts. in northern CA. He has been an adjunct instructor at Gunsite on a number of occasions. He has taught a great number of civilian classes as well. To sum it up - He is INCREDIBLY well trained with lots of experience to back it all up, the whole "Been there done that" thing.



He is now working for (Has for a while but he is now doing more work for them) a target making company as a field rep. and was down in Santa Ana visiting some ranges and a couple of the local PDs from what I understand. He is spending the night at a hotel on "Hotel row" or whatever it is called down there. Mostly business men staying there so you can assume it is a target rich environment for criminals and the bad guys can, USUALLY assume that their victims will be unarmed.



So my Buddy (That is what I will call him for this story) gets done eating at a placed called “Spoons” and is walking back to his hotel room along a sidewalk. Coming towards him he sees a man in a suit talking on a cell phone. He also notices 5-6 guys similarly dressed in the parking lot of Spoons. Buddy passes the suit and nods to him, just acknowledging him. Then he sees two adult black males emerge from some bushes about 10 feet away. They had been trailing suit man but Buddy saw them and made eye contact and they immediately advanced on him. ABM #1 is wearing a bandanna across his face with the hood of a sweatshirt pulled up over his head - He will now be called bandanna boy. ABM #2 is wearing a sweatshirt with a turtleneck with a zipper, it is zipped all the way up to cover the lower part of his face (wasn't there a character like that on Fat Albert?) - He will be called turtle boy.



Back to the story...



Bandanna Boy and Turtle boy advance on buddy and stop within 3 feet of him. Buddy is now triangled by the two. Buddy is carrying a S&W snubby in an ankle holster, jeans, shirt and a baseball cap. Surveying the area Buddy sees no immediate cover and no one seems to have noticed these two bad guys. Bandanna boy demands all of Buddy's money or Turtle boy is going to shoot him. At this point Turtle boy, with his arms crossed across his chest, displays a Beretta Cougar (Buddy ID'd it immediately - we are both gun nuts like that). Buddy pulls out a $5 bill and says, honestly, that is all he has (he is married like me). Bandanna boy takes the money and angrily says that he must have more so to give him Buddy's wallet.



Now, Buddy is carrying his clean wallet in one pocket and another wallet in his other pocket that contains his retired badge and retired ID. Buddy gives up his clean wallet and bandanna boy gets angry again because there is no more money in it. Bandanna boy shoves it in his pocket and now demands Buddy's cell phone. At this point Buddy decides he doesn't know where this is going to go so he decides it is time to stop being a victim.



Buddy starts pulling his cell and more or less argues with bandanna boy about it being his work cell (it is). All the while raising his arms in exasperation and dropping them and shuffling his feet. His goal is to get bandanna boy between him and turtle boy, the possible shooter. He makes it. During his "Temper tantrum" neither bandanna boy or turtle boy move. With bandanna boy between buddy and turtle boy Buddy makes his move. He throws his cell at bandanna boy and nails him in the face. The startled response by bandanna boy causes turtle boy to jump to. In an often practiced move Buddy squats down and smoothly draws his revolver and rises screaming at boy suspects to show there hands and drop to the ground. Buddy also takes three quick steps back - remember distance is your friend! Turtle boy turns as if to run but instead nose dives into the pavement. Bandanna boy takes a half step back and hesitates... Buddy screams again "Show me your hands! Face down on the ground or I will KILL YOU!" Bandanna boy makes the smart decision, possibly the only one he made that whole day. He drops to the ground with his arms spread out.



Buddy yells out to anyone listening "Call 911 tell them an off duty cop is involved in a 211!" and quickly follows that with "Call Santa Ana PD and tell them a 211 is in progress and an off duty cop is on scene!" Please remember that if you dial 911 from your cell phone it will call CHP. Give your location first in case you are disconnected. When you call CHP it will ring at the first open dispatch line, that may be on the other end of the state. After about a minute Buddy has an epiphany, all those civilians who say it takes forever for PD to respond are right! At least it seems like forever!



Then suddenly one of the suits in the parking lot calls out "All of the emergency lines are tied up!" That was not something Buddy wanted the suspects to hear! Bandanna boy starts saying/whispering things to turtle boy. One thing buddy hears is "when the cops show up tell them this guy tried to jack us." Buddy, the whole time transitioning the barrel from one to the other tells them to shut up, if they try to move he will kill them. He has already determined that at least one of them has a firearm. If bandanna boy were to get up and try to attack him there will be problems with turtle boy. The decision is to nail turtle boy first because he has the one gun that Buddy has already seen. But Buddy doesn't see it now even though he can see all four hands.



Buddy starts hearing the low roar of engines so he pulls out his badge and holds it over his head. Suddenly a spotlight his shined down on him from a helicopter so he is trying to make sure they see his badge too.



The first uniform arrives and Buddy lowers the barrel of his gun, to take it off of the suspects but still keep it available and yells out "I'M A RETIRED COP! DON'T SHOOT ME!" Uniform #1 acknowledges that and Buddy asks if he has them covered because he is going to re-holster. Buddy is worried about the adrenaline dump the other responding officers will experience; he still doesn't want to be shot on this night. The other cop says don't re-holster yet more units are on the way. Buddy starts waving his badge at every driveway and street as three more marked units show up. Finally with the four uniforms on scene Buddy retreats a bit more and shoves the snubby in his pocket and pockets his badge.



Bandanna boy starts yelling out to everyone that "This guy tried to jack us up!" That didn't go over to well with the uniforms. Bandanna boy, now with his hands cuffed behind his back is trying to rub his chin on his chest to pull down the bandanna. One of the uniforms pushes him against a unit and grabs his chin. While he was doing this he was also yelling at one of the other uniforms to grab a Polaroid camera. They are able to catch a picture of him with the bandanna across his face and his hood pulled over his head. Wouldn't you guys walk around town like that too? Turtle boy was able to get most of his sweatshirt off his face but it is still covering his chin.



The uniforms find Buddy’s wallet on bandanna boy along with Buddy's $5 bill. Bandanna boy the whole time yelling that he didn't know how that got there! It took a couple of minutes to find the Beretta. When turtle boy had nose dived he threw his arms out too. That caused the Beretta to end up almost under some bushes. It turned out to be an airsoft pistol with the orange end painted black.



The suit that had passed Buddy came back after the cops showed up and thanked Buddy, acknowledging that he had been there target. Because he was so engrossed in his phone conversation he hadn't seen anything until the yelling started. Suit insisted on buying Buddy a beer at Spoons. When they went in all of Spoons gave Buddy a standing ovation. Drinks were all on the house.



The next day Buddy got a call from the DA's office. Thanking him and telling him that he is the talk of the departments.



Good Guy Wins! The two bad guys picked a hell of a victim too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Lessons learned...

Some of the lessons learned –



First and foremost is training. Buddy’s training, both the training that he has received over the years and the training he has bestowed on others, paid off.



Situational awareness was a big thing for Buddy. After 30 years as a cop it has paid off more times than he is aware of (no pun intended). He is sure that there were many more times that he just avoided problems without knowing just from being aware of his surroundings. On this occasion he knew of the guys in the parking lot so he knew when he yelled after the attempted armed robbery someone would here him. Though he assures me he would have yelled anyway if he didn’t know they were there he would have tried to have found his cell phone. By also acknowledging the suit that walked past him his attention was drawn to the area from where the bad guys emerged. This allowed him not to be totally surprised when they crept out of the bushes. His awareness of his surroundings also made it apparent to Buddy that he had no where safe to go. He already knew that there wasn’t any cover close enough to him to get before he would have been shot.



One other side note here is that he was in an unfamiliar area. By traveling down the main road back to his hotel he was safer than if he had tried to take a “Back road.” He isn’t sure if there were any alley ways or not but if there were he still would have taken the well traveled road. The lesson here is avoiding dark/unlit areas.



Carry a gun! Though that isn’t possible for everyone, if you can, do it! I’m in no way suggesting you break the law but if you have a CCW you are an ABSOLUTE FOOL for not using it. Buddy says that having his snubby was better than nothing but that the weather would have permitted a larger, more accessible firearm and he should have been carrying a bigger gun on his belt. This would have been yet another bad time to be carrying a fanny pack. The bad guys probably would have demanded it and would have had a true firearm. People don’t carry a fanny pack with nothing in it and they would have wanted to have had it. It would have been almost impossible to draw a firearm out of it prior to handing it over.



Throw away money. Buddy, like me, doesn’t carry a whole bunch of cash regularly. This whole event showed the value of carrying “Throw away” money in a separate pocket. It is better to lose $5 than $250. I’m sure some of you single guys can carry money like that sometimes… My wife doesn’t give me that sort of allowance.



For any law enforcement officers out there; this story is only one of many that you should pay attention to. NEVER carry your badge and Police I.D. in your main wallet. Have a dedicated wallet for that kind of information. If the bad guys had gotten that wallet (and they had a true firearm) they may kill just because of a resentment of cops or because they know cops are trained to give good descriptions.



The bad guys had formed a triangle with Buddy. This forced Buddy to face a threat on two sides. This was a very good move on their part. Buddy was able to manipulate them into a position that was more favorable to him. Luckily they were only a little smart. By placing a bad guy between buddy and the potential shooter Buddy hoped to have at least a little cover if he had to engage the bad guy with the gun.



When Buddy started protesting about giving up his cell phone it bought time for him and was distracting to the bad guys. By introducing what appeared to be “innocent” movement he was jockeying for a better position. Had there been cover he could have been moving closer to that as well. The movements also made the throwing of his cell phone more of a surprise. The startled response was predictable and powerful. A persons natural response to having something come at their face is to turn away, buying Buddy a little bit of time. Because Turtle boy couldn’t see all of Buddy’s movements so when bandanna boy jumped he predictably jumped as well. For you smokers out there a lit cigarette works wonderfully as well. Roll the cigarette between your middle or index finger and thumb and flick it towards their face. Again, a bright object flying at someone’s face can be rather distracting. Because of Buddy’s repeated training drawing from an ankle holster he was able to do it quickly and smoothly. PRACTICE YOUR DRAW! Regardless of where you carry your firearm, PRACTICE YOUR DRAW REPEATEDLY! You might want to do it with an unloaded firearm, if you don’t than YOU will be responsible for any problems (holes?) you create.



Another possibility here might have been feigning a heart attack. That may have allowed Buddy to get lower towards his holster but I still don’t think it would have allowed him to draw as un-noticed. The bad guys would have been watching him all the way down.



Maybe he could have thrown his wallet too. Had he thrown it into the street the bad guy’s eyes would have predictably followed it. There by buying him time to draw his firearm.



The three quick steps back made it so that the closest bad guy, in this case bandanna boy, could not try to disarm him. Remember that distance is always your friend.



Once Buddy had the drop on the bad guys he continued with his advantage. I didn’t add a bunch of the expletives that Buddy used because it didn’t add much to the story. It did have its desired effect on the bad guys though. Once you have control of the situation exploit it. Make the bad guy know that you are in charge. Tell them that you will “KILL” them if they do not follow your instructions. If you can’t say it you can’t do it, they know that. Be loud and forceful. Be in control. It also forces possible witnesses to notice you as well. Call out for help immediately. Maybe there is another Good Samaritan close by, maybe even an off duty cop. It also gets help on the way as quickly as possible. If you are a witness PLEASE don’t yell out that you can’t get a hold of the good guys… Just keep trying.



As Buddy found out cops take a while to get to you. Be prepared to take control and stay in control. It may also be a good idea to retreat to a more defendable area. Don’t stay too focused on the threat. Buddy continued with sweeping the area even after he had the bad guys at gun point. What if there had been a third bad guy watching out for the cops most likely avenue of approach? Continue with the situational awareness.



Had the bad guys in this case spoke a different language or been able to continue to communicate bad things could have happened. Keep the bad guys quite and immobile. They may be conspiring to try to overcome you. Again, keep control of the situation.



When the uniforms show up MAKE SURE YOU ARE IDENTIFIABLE! When you call out for help make sure you tell the witnesses to give dispatch a description of you. Buddy was a little luckier than most of us would have been because he had a badge to hold up. In most of our cases it still would have been a good idea to hold up your wallet. Try to give the uniforms some sort of impression that you are a good guy. When the good guys show up, lower the barrel of your gun and DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TURN TOWARDS THE UNIFORMS WITH THE GUN IN YOUR HAND.



Keep telling everyone that shows up that you are the good guy. Don’t trust that the first officer has already radioed out who is good and who is bad before the rest of the cavalry shows up.



Like Buddy did, tell, or at least ask the uniforms what you are going to do before you do it. Let them know that you are going to holster your firearm. Buddy wanted to holster his weapon before too many people showed up and he just became “Some guy not in uniform pointing a gun.”



One of the most important post incident things that Buddy did was ask that his personal information not be included on the police report. Many may not know that once a person is charged with a crime the police report becomes public information. Buddy also confirmed with the District Attorney’s office that the report had been cleansed. The D.A.’s office will need personal information just in case you need to be subpoenaed for the case. They can also make sure that your personal information is kept confidential for your security. As it turned out in this case both bad guys had long criminal histories, are you surprised? Both had known gang affiliation. Would they have put a contract out on Buddy or his family? Who knows, Buddy didn’t want to try to find out.



If anyone else sees any other lessons learned here please feel free to add to or correct me where needed.
 

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Its really amazing what people try to get away with air soft gun and all.... I will always exercise my privilege to carry a ccw whenever i can... I have heard some experiences that have gone south in a hurry... but this was the best case scenario "buddy" could hope for.. everyone is alive no one was injured.. except maybe turtle boy taking a face plant, but he can whine and cry in his little shell for all care... The best point you made though IMHO is to practice.. when that adrenaline dumps into your body you lose you fine motor skills... your body begins to run off muscle memory and instincts... thus the phrase "you play like you practice"... so practice practice practice... getting your draw down is just as important as getting your aim down....
 

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Wow
. Good advice. I can't believe people would try to use an airsoft to rob someone. Either they are stupid (which is a good thing for law abiding citizens) or they just don't care. That could have been the last thing they did in life. Anyway, your buddy did an excellent job and I actually learned a few things. Thanks for the post.
 

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You weren't kidding when you said "Long", but good read, well worth the time. Glad everything worked out for the good guy.
 

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Good information to be passed on, unfortunately it had to happen in the first place.
 

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Great story. Glad the bad guys are in jail! Plus one for the armed citizen.
 
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