“The motorist said he was stopped at a red light on 1st Ave and S. Lander Street, next to a black Ford Expedition,” komononews.com reports. “When the light turned green, a third car blew through the intersection, cutting off the victim and the Expedition. The victim honked at the third car as it sped away, and continued on. Moments later, the victim told police the driver of the Expedition pulled alongside him and displayed a handgun.” Really? Did the Ford driver really brandish his firearm simply because another vehicle honked at him? And did this happen then? . . .
The victim pulled behind the Expedition and drove through SODO until both vehicles stopped near the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop at 1st Ave and Holgate Way. At that point, the Expedition driver got out of his vehicle, approached the victim’s car and began shouting at him while displaying the handgun, according to police.
The victim drove away, flagged down an officer and reported the incident.
Here’s the alternative account from the Expedition driver.
Officers later found the Expedition at 18th Avenue South and S. McLellan Street and made contact with the driver, a 35-year-old Burien man, who was accompanied by his wife and child.
The man told officers he was looking for a shooting range to take his son to for his birthday.
The man claimed the victim was driving aggressively, had tried to “ram” his car and was swerving all over the road. He repeatedly told officers he “felt scared for his life,” but did not indicate why he had gotten out of his car and confronted the victim in the parking lot of the doughnut shop, police said.
Let’s assume that Ford Guy is a gainfully employed law-abiding citizen who used his gun legally. He pointed his firearm at someone who put him in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. That he only got out of the SUV because his path was blocked. And that the second time he flashed his gat he was, again, in life-threatening danger. In other words, it was a totally legit defensive gun use (DGU).
If so, Ford Guy’s biggest mistake – one which will cost him time, money, perhaps his job and almost certainly his gun rights – is that he didn’t call the cops.
In a DGU, it’s entirely possible that the person who put you, your family or other innocent life in mortal peril will call the cops and say you threatened them. It doesn’t matter if he’s got a rap sheet longer than a line of coke at Hollywood party. The police will treat him as the victim and you as the perp. Chances are you will be tracked down and arrested, and that the arresting officers will consider you armed and dangerous. (What could possibly go wrong?)
It is critical that you call 911 immediately after a defensive gun use. ANY defensive gun use. Even if you deter a bad guy simply by lifting your shirt to reveal your firearm, call the cops. For example, tell them “I was the victim of an attempted car jacking at 4th and LeBrea. My life was in danger. I used my firearm to defend my life. I’d like to file a report of this crime against me.”
I know: you’re scared. Emotional. Adrenalin-infused. All you want to do is go home, be safe, and try to process what just happened. It was over so fast. No one got hurt. Maybe I should forget the whole thing ever happened. Who’s gonna know? The bad guy won’t report it. Nope. Man up. Call the cops and tell them you used your gun to defend your or other innocent life.
Yes, calling the cops after a DGU is an enormous hassle. You might have to hang around a cop shop for hours. There will be lots of paperwork. The police may not be sympathetic. They may even be antagonistic (call Saul!). Or completely uninterested in the entire incident. And yes, you run the risk being arrested anyway.
But the downside to not calling the cops is that you could lose everything you hold dear, including your life. Again, you have to drop the dime immediately. The bad guy might call the cops, too. As in all things, the first one to talk to to the 911 operator gets the first mover advantage.
One more thing: don’t delegate this job to anyone else. The police, prosecutors, judge and jury (should it come to that) are far more likely to believe that you were the victim of a crime if you, personally, make the call. They will listen to the tape. So make sure you’re safe (it’s OK to leave a crime scene), take a deep breath, think about what you’re going to say, and do it.