Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Personal Experience: Carwash Ambush

 This isn't the first time I've had to use a firearm in self-defense.  It's merely the first since I started blogging.  But, several things come into play which I want to emphasize to anyone who happens to be reading this.On Sunday, I was hanging out with my daughter at my fiance's house.  My future in-laws were there, the ladies doing wedding planning, my daughter and I watching a Narnia marathon, and a relaxing day being had by all.  After the snow fall of the week prior, I decided it would be a good idea to wash the salt from the car before it had any more chance to corrode my paint and undercarriage, and make me another victim of the steel buckle of the rust belt.
As such, I asked my daughter if she would like to accompany me to the car wash.  Her eyes lit up, and after the Narnia movie which was playing at the time ended, we were on our way.
Upon pulling into the parking lot, I noticed two young guys sitting on a curb along the back portion of the lot.  They didn't strike me as significantly out of place, as there is a fair amount of pedestrian traffic there.  This is not a bad part of town by any stretch of the imagination, and there are always people milling about.
As I rounded the back end of the car wash, I asked my daughter whether we should use the 'spray it yourself' or the automatic wash.  She chose the automatic, as she enjoys watching the machine do the work.  Since this particular car wash has no brushes or rollers or other 'things-which-hold-dirt-from-other-cars-and-use-it-to-scratch-mine' I conceded, and proceeded to the far end of the building, getting in line behind a dark purple Pontiac Grand Am.
At this point, I noticed that the Grand Am was a significant distance behind the next car up in line, but attributed that to the driver having the vehicle in park while waiting for others to move up, and being in no hurry, so I brushed it off.  I looked into my mirror to chat with my daughter, and noticed out of the corner of my eye movement in my passenger side-view mirror.  As I shifted focus to that mirror, I saw the aforementioned young men walking in the direction of my car,  from behind.  I then noticed that they both had their hands clutching things in such a way that I could not see what was in them.  At this point, my senses went into overdrive, and I started taking in every detail of what they were doing.
They split up behind my car, one coming to the driver, the other remaining on the passenger side.  At this point, I knew hesitation COULD prove to be a problem, and taking a simple precaution would cause no problems.  So, without interrupting my daughter (who was talking about something which for the life of me I can't remember now), I drew my firearm from my holster, and held it against my chest, with the barrel directed at the driver's window.  As the kids reached the front doors of my car, they turned to face it from both sides.  I turned to look at the one on my left, made eye contact, raised my gun ever so slightly.  His eyes widened, and he turned to run.  I then looked to my right, and saw what was in the hand of the kid on the other side of the car.  An ASP.  At this point, I started to swing my firearm in his direction, expecting to have to fire it after he broke the glass.  As soon as he saw what was in my hand, however, he also bolted.  After he ran, the car in front of me (remember that dark purple Pontiac?) turned a tight turn, and booked it around the corner.
The kid who had been by my driver's side door ran through one of the DIY carwash stalls, shoving the guy who was washing his car.  I watched him on the other side, as the other kid reached him, and then the car. They jumped in, and took off up the street.
My daughter, meanwhile, was blissfully unaware of the encounter.  As a parent, I'm exceedingly grateful that I was not only able to protect her, but I was able to do it in such a fashion that she never had to feel any fear, and was able to continue her story with only a slight pause when she noticed the guys run from the car.
The entire incident took a very short amount of time.  I couldn't begin to guess how long it did take, but even reviewing the slow-motion capture in my head, there was very little time involved.

Remember I said I wanted to point out a few things?  Well, here are they key factors:
1 - It was broad daylight.
2 - It was in what is considered to be a safe area.  A 'good part' of town.
3 - This area, on the whole, has a lower crime rate than most of the rest of the USA.
4 - I was not out looking for anything, instead trouble found me.
5 - If I did not pay attention to my surroundings, things could have gone very differently, especially if I was not already preparing as they were approaching.
6 - They did not have (that I was able to see) any firearms of their own.  That would not have prevented them from perpetrating violence upon myself and my daughter.
7 - If I had been unarmed, or prevented from owning or carrying a weapon, it would not have ended so peacefully.
8 - One person against many doesn't stand a chance, without something to balance the odds.  The threat of violence was sufficient to bring resolution to the situation without the need to follow through with the threat.
9 - I hope the thugs who sought to ambush me (or whoever happened to pull into the lot behind their getaway) will reconsider their plans, and realize that their victims may not be willing to be victimized.

This is just another reason why we have a 2nd amendment.  Personal responsibility.  Only I am able to protect myself and my family.  I cannot rely on anyone else to do so.

UPDATE:  I spoke with the police, and let them know about the event.  I provided as detailed a description of all the actors as best as I was able, and they have filed it as something for which to be alert.  No incident report, nothing else exciting.


  1. Redeemed Boyd,

    Great post and thank you for sharing it.

    Did you report this incident to the police?

  2. Good on you. Excellent situational awareness. The firearm played a crucial role yes, but your awareness was what gave you an edge.

    Great outcome. No one harmed.

  3. Wow. I am glad that you and your daughter are ok. Thanks for posting this. Fortunately, I have not had to deal with this type of experience. I am curious about what you did after this happened. Did you feel it was necessary to contact the police afterword to prevent them from accusing you of brandishing? I doubt that these losers would want any contact with the police though.

  4. Good for you. I'd call this a complete success. You being prepared prevented harm to you or your daughter, and no-one got shot.

  5. You're welcome, Bob. There are so many stories out there, and so many people who do this, it needs to be understood that these are the reasons why we fight the good fight.

    As far as reporting, I did not. No crime was committed, I failed to get a GOOD description of the perps, and my goal of protecting my daughter from the drama was achieved. The last thing I wanted was for her to be sitting in a police station while I filled out a report, and answered questions, and such. Counter productive.

  6. Thank you, Tango Juliet. You're exactly right, that the situational awareness is what saved my rump from further complications.
    Robby, I'm very grateful that you have not had an experience like this. For your sake, I pray you never do. I also agree that these types won't be likely to report anything to the authorities. It would run against their nature, I suspect.
    DaddyBear, thank you. It was the ideal outcome of a bad situation. Any others would have been worse in one way or another.

  7. Redeemed Boyd,

    I figured as much and completely understand your perspective.

    All I wanted to do was draw attention to the fact that this was not reported -- that no statistic would be recorded.

    Given that the thug had a collapsible baton, it is entirely possible that a crime was committed. Either possession of a deadly weapon or menacing.

    I would encourage you to call the non-emergency police number and talk to someone. At least get it on record that the location may be targeted by organized thugs. The police might temporarily increase their presence and drive the thugs to a new location.

    All in all, you protected your family and yourself -- once again, good job.

  8. *cough* light a candle *cough*

  9. HAHAhahaha I will, North...I just need to find a candle. No issues with the other required content of the picture. :)

  10. WOW yeah those fellas were up to no good.

    Also out of curiosity collapsible batons like the ASP are 100% illegal here in Masahcusetts, can you own one there and carry it?

    Glad everything turned out as good as it did, and I'm glad your daughter didn't get her feathers ruffled.

    BTW reminds me a bit of this story

  11. Weer'd, here in PA they are legal, but some municipalities ban them anyway. Around here I don't know of any that do. However, you'd better be prepared with an excellent reason for using one. They seem to garner more negative legal attention than firearms.

  12. Redeemed Boyd
    if you dont mind, I would like to link this to our Firearm Owners forum.

  13. Please feel free to do so, Patriot. If even one person benefits from my experience, than I'll be thrilled for their sake!

  14. We noticed with pleasure you reached for your 950-1140 FPS lead pellet delivery system rather than paraffin powered photons at 186,000FPS delivery system. Eyes open wide too. Very, very pleased you and especially daughter unhurt, and her, unaware. "IHS"

  15. Congratulations on your awareness and keeping that young woman safe and secure.It just shows that you cant predict the time or the place for bad things to happen.

  16. Kerry - For some reason, some instinct or voice in my mind seemed to indicate it would be the better course. I guess I could have asked them to please wait while I fetched the alternative device, found a flint and striker, and managed to get it deployed...
    Keads - Thank you!
    Dean - Her safety was at the forefront of my mind throughout. If I could have predicted the incident, I never would have been there. Life is too precious.

  17. You are awesome.

    I, too, had a bad guy encounter, in broad day light, in a "good" part of town, with my daughter, but, I didn't do any of the things you did.

    I am so glad that both of you are alright!

  18. I am truly sorry you were in a situation in which your daughter was threatened. I just went to your blog and found the story...It's a very scary thought! My daughter is also 7, so I well understand the emotions that raged. I am glad that in your situation, you were both unharmed as well.
    It's amazing how things in life happen when we don't expect them, and aren't even thinking about it.
    I am very glad you stopped by to read, I'm going to have to add you to my daily perusal as well!

  19. Given your screen name, it just has to be said:

    Nice OODA loop, RedeemedBoyd!

  20. That's awesome, Aurictech! I never realized I picked the name of such an esteemed strategist. Nor that I would implement the strategy for which he is best known.
    Thanks for the info!

  21. Glad you and the young one are safe, and I'm really glad you saw their approach in time to prevent the actual attack! I've posted and done a little analysis on this at my blog (Blogger doesn't seem to play nice with WordPress trackbacks).

    I find two things disturbing about this encounter. 1) their entire setup was well designed - nothing tripped your alarm bells until they made their approach, and 2) the entire scenario seems odd for a robbery or carjacking, which makes me think the entire purpose was to assault someone, maybe as part of an initiation - and those can easily turn deadly even without the attackers meaning for it to.

    I'm going to have to echo Bob S's suggestion - you should at least mention this to the cops - because of the most chilling part. They most likely saw your daughter in the car with you, but they still started their attack run. What did they plan to do with her when they were done with you?

    They're going to do this again. I can almost guarantee it. What if their next intended victim is unarmed, or taken by surprise? The police need to know they're out there, and what they're up to.

  22. Good story. Good OODA.

    (Note: currently, the link under ASP is a mangled link. But I think I understand what you mean.)

    I hadn't heard of teams using that ambush tactic: a car that delays a drive-through, and a pair of pedestrians approach a tailing car from both sides.

    However, it is somewhat similar to Xavier's story (mentioned by Weerd). In that story, the pedestrians marked Xavier, tailed him, and attempted to box him in while he was walking away from the store. Xavier also had a daughter in tow.

    Maybe sometime in the next 20 years, you can tell your daughter this story.

  23. Good story with a great outcome. Just as I would expect - no rounds were fired, and nobody was harmed, which is something often overlooked by the general public regarding carrying a firearm. The idea that you carry a gun "just to kill somebody," when that is even more unlikely than your chances of having to draw it.

  24. Jake, thank you for the in depth analysis. I honestly hadn't considered the gang initiation aspect of it at all. Also, (I will be updating the post in a minute) I spoke with the police station today, and let them know what happened. The first thing they said was essentially 'Since you prevented the crime, there's nothing we can do.' I simply stated the 'I want you to be aware of what happened, I'm not looking to catch them now for what DIDN'T happen to me.'

    Karrde, thank you for mentioning the broken link. I'll have to fix that.
    I'd not ever heard of, or encountered, such a tactic before. I think the biggest surprise to me came when that car pulled out of line and STOPPED FOR THEM. At first I thought they saw what happened, and wanted to flee from the confrontation or something.
    I also intend to tell my daughter exactly what happened, and why and how I was able to protect her that day.

    CTone, it is far too often overlooked. The sensational stories are the ones which get media attention, and 'no one was injured' tends to not be sensational enough.

  25. Honestly, that only occurred to me as I was writing my post - probably because I was giving it a more in-depth analysis.

    Another thought I had: If you haven't done/thought of it already, you may want to do some kind of training for your daughter on what to do if she sees you draw your gun (or if you give a code phrase). Without knowing your situation or her age/maturity level I really couldn't suggest anything specific, but something you know she'll be able to do consistently will take at least one variable out of any critical situation.

  26. Excellent idea, Jake. I think I will have to do just that. I don't mind sharing that she is 7. I have a post from late in 2011 of her putting her first magazine of .22LR through a pistol, and how well she handled it.
    She is definitely bright enough to grasp the importance of having a plan like that, and it would be a great way to help her feel like she's contributing, and being helpful. It would give her something on which to concentrate.

  27. I spent 17 years as an Armored Truck Driver/Messenger. During that time there were 4 Robberies none of which involved me but follow workers had to endore. As you stated all those robberies happened in "1-It was broad daylight.
    2 - It was in what is considered to be a safe area. A 'good part' of town.
    3 - This area, on the whole, has a lower crime rate than most of the rest of the USA.
    4 - I was not out looking for anything, instead trouble found me.( They were not looking for trouble instead trouble found them) All but 1 of the robberies happened in the South Hills of Pittsburgh the other happened at The Old Giant Eagle (Grocery Store)in Washington Pa.Sir I am in total agreement with you. Thank God you and your daughter were not harmed and your daughter was not tramatised by the horrible intensions of those low lifes. God Bless Dave C.

  28. Good awareness. How was the car wash line setup? In other words was there something that prevented you from driving away once you noticed the approach or did you think that was not as good of an option? Thanks for sharing your story.

  29. Thanks for the post. Very educational and it's making its way through the firearm/defense forums and blogs. If there's one good thing to learn from the thugs it's how they positioned their purple Pontiac. Giving enough space in front of your car in any situation for an escape route (if possible) -- on the road, stopped at an intersection, waiting in any car queue -- can only benefit you and is a strategy to consider in everyday life.

    -Bryce B