Monday, December 14, 2009

Combat Handguns accepts my article about armed robbery attempt

It's my blog, so I can repost an earlier post if I want to. And I do. I just found out my submission to Combat Handguns magazine's first-person feature series It Happened To Me has been accepted and will appear in the March 2010 issue.

After 30-some years of having my news and feature stories and photos being published in newspapers during my journalism career, you'd think I wouldn't get excited about getting published any more. But I still do. Here's the article I submitted to Combat Handguns.

The incident didn't really happen to me, but it did happen to Billy and Dorothy, second and third from left in the photo above, along with the rest of the gun shop crew. At left is Wes, Jennifer and Jonathan are in the center and that's me at the far right (both politically and geographically).
Sticking up a cop bar or a gun store has got to be two of the worst armed-robbery selection choices any hoodlums could make because it's certain both places will have armed people who will not be willing victims. But believe it or else, there are at least two hoodlums dumb enough to try to rob a gun store.

It happened recently at the gun store where I work when the senior two of the family of shop owners, Billy and Dorothy, were there alone one Saturday night about 9 p.m.

Billy learned the hard way several years ago the important lesson about always being aware of what's going on around you. An armed robber got the drop on him and held him and Dorothy at gunpoint, at one point forcing them into the trunk of a car. Billy and Dorothy survived that event and Billy has said since that no one will ever "get the drop" on him with a gun again. He said he used to think a .38 in his back pocket was sufficient but has since upgraded to a Glock .40S&W.

The gun store had been closed this recent Saturday as the crew was working at a gun show. Billy and Dorothy returned to the shop after the gun show closed to load up some extra guns to take back to the gun show for the next day. Billy was unlocking and locking the door as he loaded boxes of guns in the back of his truck. The store was obviously closed at 9 p.m., but two hoodlums tried to barge in anyway.

As he went in and out of the door, locking it each time, Billy said he had noticed two males sitting on the hood of a car in a parking lot on the other side of the highway from the shop, watching him. Then as he put some more guns in the truck, he spotted them sprinting across the highway, circling behind his truck where they thought he wouldn't see them, heading for the door. He quickly went back inside but decided he didn't want to be caught fumbling with the keys as they arrived, so he left the door unlocked and retreated inside while drawing his Glock and turning to face the door. The two hoodlums opened the door and came in with the one in front not showing a gun, his hands raised in the air as he saw Billy with his Glock.

Our video surveillance system, which we played back the next day, showed the hoodlum behind the one in front started pulling his shirt front up and starting to draw a pistol from his waistband while hidden behind the one who came in first with empty hands raised. But the second hoodlum suddenly froze in mid-draw when Billy greeted the two with his Glock .40 and a few choice words. They suddenly decided they had urgent business elsewhere. They turned around quickly and left even faster than they arrived.

We told law enforcement about the incident the next day and provided them with a video recording of the attempted robbery. Law enforcement identified the pair as two local hoodlums, 18 and 19, who were out on bail after being charged with a home-invasion robbery in a nearby community. When we got a copy of the local newspaper with the pair's mug shots, Billy identified the two also. As I write this, the two have yet to come to trial for the home-invasion robbery and are still free.

Since that incident, Billy has upgraded his Glock .40 with a Crimson Trace Lasergrip and all of us who work at the gun store never work without being armed, some of us wearing a backup handgun as well as a main carry. Even Dorothy, who hasn't been armed before, has been practicing with a Crimson Trace .38. And we're all a lot more vigilant than we were before.

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