Previous Post
Next Post

At Rick Ector writes:

As a Firearm Safety and Personal Protection Instructor in Detroit, I often find it useful to read and analyze published defensive gun use (DGU) stories and to share my findings with students enrolled in my Concealed Pistol License (CPL) Class. As such, yesterday I saw the posted video of the Chicago off-duty law enforcement officer, who defended himself against three assailants, to be full of “teachable moments” for my students . . .

I always stress to my students to always be prepared. At any time or place, they can suddenly be under attack from a violent predator without a moment’s notice. It is precisely for this possibility, that they chose to be lawfully armed – to protect themselves. Accordingly, it is imperative that they be ready for an attack during their every conscious moment.

Awareness Of Your Environment Is Critical

It is imperative that you always be aware of your immediate and surrounding environment. Doing so can potentially buy you extra precious moments to identify potential threats and to quickly dispatch a response. In the video, it appeared that the officer was caught “off-guard” by the sudden appearance of the three predators. If he had noticed them sooner, it is possible that he could have had enough additional time – one to two seconds – to immediately draw and discharge his firearm. Instead, his lack of awareness forced him to delay his defense until he could find another opportunity.

Distance Is Always Your Friend

Once the victim noticed that he was being attacked, as evidenced by the young thug holding a gun, he immediately dropped the gas dispenser and started retreating backwards away from the threat. He moved somewhere between 10 and 15 feet away from the pump before stopping. Had he been aware of the impending attack, he could have had an opportunity to retreat even further. Each additional step away decreases the amount of space his body occupies in the firing radius of the assailant’s gun. Additionally, the dropping of the gas dispenser allowed the victim to free his shooting hand while moving along the side of his vehicle to produce a partial ballistic backstop should he be able to find an opportune moment to fire his gun.

Victim’s Attire Selection Allowed A Fast Draw

Chicago has a historical reputation for having a cold climate during the winter. As such, people who live there dress appropriately: long coats, mufflers, hoods, and etc. However, the victim in this story did not elect to wear bulky outer garments that would have restricted access to his firearm. As such, he did not need to consume valuable split-seconds of response time to move his clothing out of the path to his gun. Apparently, the victim had the forethought to carry his firearm in an accessible location while being dressed for cold weather.

Victim’s Firearm Was Ready For Firing

The victim’s firearm did not need to be chambered before he used it. It was immediately “ready for use.” If he needed to make his gun ready before using it, he may not have had enough time to mount an effective defensive of his life. Proponents of carrying a firearm without a round already chambered grossly under-estimate the time required to do so. Many of these folks mistakenly believe that carrying a firearm in that manner provides a needed and necessary extra layer of firearm safety. In fact, doing so may reduce the chances that a victim can defend himself. Obeying the fundamental firearm safety rules is more than sufficient.

Compliance Is Not A Guarantee of Safety

The victim correctly assessed that having a gun pointed at him by robbers placed his life in danger. As such, he made the conscious decision to defend himself. It is not uncommon for robbery victims to be shot and killed, even after complying with the criminal demands of their attackers. As such, he feigned compliance by turning or “blading” his “weak side” towards the bad guys to ostensibly show that he was retrieving the requested wallet from his back pocket. This strategy allowed the victim to both reduce the amount of space that his body occupied in the assailant’s gun radius and to hide his “strong side” hand while reaching for his own firearm.

Fortunately, the victim was able to quickly draw and discharge his gun before the bad guy could get off a shot and evade injury. The accomplices of the dead assailant evaded capture and are still at-large in the community.

This graphic video provides an excellent case study for persons who regularly carry a firearm for personal protection. It demonstrated the need to always be aware of your surroundings, always carry your firearm in a quickly accessible manner, always keep a round chambered, and to have the mindset that you are willing to defend your life. Be prepared to defend your life every time you leave your home.

Carrying a firearm is a grave responsibility. It is your responsibility to know all applicable laws related to lawful firearm usage for your respective area. Infractions carry stiff penalties. Be responsible BUT also be ready.

About The Author

Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW Class training in Detroit for students at his firearms school – Rick’s Firearm Academy of Detroit.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Grisly. Why don’t the gas stations there put up fences with guards to allow customers in, I wonder? Our cities are hellholes.

    • One word, Cost. To do that they would have to raise the cost of the gas and other items so high, that no one would shop there. Econ 101.

      • Nonsense. Those corner stations are generally owned by big oil who could use their
        pocket change to increase security and customer safety.

        • So the big oil will just go out back and pick some funds off the free money tree? While they are at it why don’t they supply defibullators, free coffee and heat the cement so it’s not too cold for their customers. Can’t believe how clueless some people about economics. They can’t even afford an attendant to pump the gas and you think they can erect a fence and supply a security guard? Oh, and in this case the ” big oil” company is the state run oil company of Venezuala. Practically a communist country.

        • The gas stations are franchises, just like your fast food places. The stores themselves are owned not by the oil & gas company, but by private individuals or small businesses that get preferential pricing and supply from a given oil company. And yes…for those that didn’t realize it, Citgo is the national oil company of Venezuela. Now that Chavez is gone, maybe that country will return to a semblance of normalcy although I doubt that many of the other majors will be moving back into Venezuela soon. When Chavez came into power, he basically stole all of the oil companies property and nationalized it.

        • People named after characters in children’s books who whine about “big oil” and “big pharma” usually have small brains and big mouths.

          Get your self edumacated (sic) and learn to put your brain in gear before opening your mouth.

          Otherwise you are validating the old truism that it is better to keep your mouth shut and be suspected of being a moron than to confirm it by opening your mouth.

          /thats right, I’m an OFWG.

    • Sounds like a marketing idea. A few more cents per gallon for additional perceived security. Chain link fence topped with barbed wire offers great protection to our populations in old cities with high crime and low legal gun ownership. It will have the added benefit of conditioning the population to accepting such fencing and to believe being inside the fence is the place to be.

    • We’re members at Costco and the gas pump facilities are one of the reasons we are. There are only four Costco locations in the Houston area, but two are very convenient to us from home and work. The store we visit most often is itself set way in the back of a large retail development, even farther back than the Lowes.

      The gas pumps are member-only usable, for requiring a membership card, and are set even farther back than the store in a corner of the overall property. There’s always an attendant (read: additional would-be witness) on duty, too. So it’s pretty far out of the way of robbers, if they’re even aware of it. Given the Costco membership demographics, I’d expect they’re more likely to be carrying than the general public, too, so that’s an additional benefit. We figure awareness and avoidance are our first lines of defense against crime.

      • I’m pretty sure this is part of the back story to the movie Elesium. First it is gas stations and bulk food for the privileged. Next, your own space station.

        Momma didn’t raise no fool.

      • Well, apparently they must not have known they were located in a gun-free zone. After all, they most likely were very honest law abiding criminals and therefore would have complied with the law. I know! Let’s enact another law at educating (at taxpayer expense) all the Chicago criminals on the fact that they are in a gun free zone. You can hang posters on trees and maybe even advertise on a blimp. “Attention all criminals. Please come to a free meeting at the community center to learn how you are not allowed to have a gun in Chicago”

  2. That video wasn’t graphic unless you count having a gun as ‘graphic’. I’ve seen the unedited version and it’s not graphic either.

    That said, all good considerations. Here’s another one… had this officer not been authorized to carry and lived in Chicago only a couple of years ago he might be the one in a bodybag. If there’s going to be blood in the streets from people carrying guns I’d rather it be the robber’s blood than mine.

    • Yeah, I read the whole article then watched the video and wondered if it was the right video. The author says he backed up 10 or 15 feet? If you think two or three steps is 15 feet then yeah. I don’t think the victim could have been any more aware. The punks pick the moment and the direction of attack. Usually they walk up and start a casual conversation and get your guard down so to say this guy wasn’t alert is not correct.

      • Agree. The victim also stopped backing up, probably because he saw that one of the hoodlums was going around the car to get him from behind.

      • To Michael and Rope:

        I fully agree with the awareness assessment; it would be nearly impossible to activate the pump and fit it into the fueling port of the vehicle without looking at and concentrating on it. I don’t believe lack of awareness had anything to do with this unless those three thugs were standing nearby with ‘Robber’ signs around their necks when he got out of the car.

        That robber circling the car made my heart rate increase and my senses tingle just watching it in the video. I was hoping the ‘victim’ saw that too because nothing good could possibly come from that. It was frightening. It would have been at that moment, noticing the robber circling to get behind me that I’d have made the decision to shoot it out rather than comply, gun in my face or no, that looked like it was about to go well past robbery.

  3. Although I’m glad the LEO came out of this unscathed, I can’t help but think of Chicago’s shitty double standard, that allows LEO to defend themselves, but leaves the petty little citizens defenseless, because they don’t need guns. After all, that’s what the cops are for, right?

    The rest of the article should be common sense to anyone who takes the responsibility of going about armed seriously.

    • i agree with you. i am glad the leo got home safely, but i don’t like the fact that if he had been a construction worker or a teacher, he would likely be dead. i do not have a problem with MOST leo’s, but i hate that all leo’s are treated differently (better) than the rest of us peasants.

    • It should also be pointed out IN BOLD LETTERS that the only reason these three hoods thought this was a good idea is that they are in Chicago and simply assume ( in most cases correctly) that their victim will be unarmed and helpless. The turned out the way it did was because they guessed wrong and targeted a cop.

      With “legal” or Constitutional carry in CHicago the odds are good that this robbery would never even have been attempted.

    • yep. an off duty cop should have no more right to defend himself than anyone else. should being the operative term.

      I’m glad the cop made it, but it chaps my ass that he has off-duty privileges not afforded to joe plumber.

    • Right. When I lived downtown Chicago I was always told by my Dad it was safer for me to shut off the car, leave the purse in the car, take only the credit card and keys, lock the car, pump the gas, unlock the car, get in, re-lock the car then start it and leave the station.

      So that’s what I did. It was a little more complicated when the kids where little but usually I’d just lock them in the car as long as I could pay at the pump. otherwise I’d haul them inside with me.

      • All good. And another things is to make sure that your passenger door is LOCKED and the window UP if there is no one in the seat. I’ve seen vids (here perhaps?) of thugs sneaking up on the passenger side of the car and then raiding the seat while the driver is distracted–even opening car doors. Anything you leave on the seat–purse, wallet, cell phone–will be gone and the victim generally clueless as to how it happened.

        • City living in Chicago is fabulous. But we did move out when the kids were small to “the country” (horse farm.) 🙂

        • NJ is the same way, they stopped allowing the citizens to pump their own gas after the Newark riots. Can’t have the citizens stocking up on molotov cocktails now, can we.

          Watch your Jewish neighbors pull into a gas station in NJ with a yarmulke on their head and ask Achmed to “fill it up, regular, please” and watch them pray he doesn’t pump the gas in through their open window.

  4. I really can’t fault his situational awareness. The bad guy came up quick, almost running. That was his mistake since he didn’t have strength of numbers.

    • i agree, he only had his back to the area where the perpetrators came from for only a few seconds. the only way he could have been more situationally aware is if he kept checking behind his back every second like a paranoid freak.

      i like to think of myself as situationally aware, but even i find myself way off guard at times in public. its just to easy.

    • Though I generally live work and travel in some statistically very safe areas I remain alert to the people in them without paranoia. Especially in transitional areas, parking lots and the like I’m a much more attentive than say in aisle of a grocery store. Still though, anyone who is paying too much attention to me or acting in a way that is unusual for the surroundings is noted and my alertness level increases back to active, like for the parking lot, from it’s normal passive state inside. I’ve noticed that I detect concealed carriers a lot, and I’ve seen a whole lot of hand to hand drug deals, people rolling joints in cars and shoplifters shoplifting because I’m paying attention to people standing around on the sidewalk instead of walking on it, people who are furtive inside a store or people who are sitting in parked cars.

      That being said I don’t feel burdened or paranoia at all by my level of awareness, it’s just always in the background, ready to come to the forefront if I ‘passively’ detect something that’s worth additional scrutiny.

      I’ll leave this to the readers though, Before putting my vehicle in park I always scan the area for anyone who seems suspicious. Once I exit I’m switched on and actively looking for potential trouble, I avoid blind spots and tight places when possible to ensure that I have sightlines and distance to react. I stay upright and engaged, walk with purpose and consciously try to put off a ‘not me, pick on someone else, vibe with posture, facial expression and walking gate. Am I nuts, or just appropriately aware of my surroundings?

      When returning to my vehicle I look around for anyone who’s near it, approach from a wide enough angle so as not to be ambushed between parked cars, enter quickly, lock the doors and start the engine before I fasten my seat belt, and then only after another scan to be sure I’m not being approached.

      I have gone back into stores because I didn’t like the behavior of someone on the lot, I have ordered strangers to back up from me when they come too close on empty sidewalks (panhandlers mostly). I’ve changed direction or gone into businesses where I had to business to avoid suspicious looking people and I’ve avoided many places altogether because I didn’t like the looks of the crowd.

      None of these things occurs daily or even weekly, these are unique experiences spread-out over a life time, and I’ve lived I places that were considerably more dangerous that here.

      Maybe I’m over the top, maybe I’m just where I need to be, I don’t know, but I doubt that I (aware to the point that I fear it’s low grade paranoia) would have been any less surprised by that trio of muggers than the guy in the video. You simply can’t be that aware and that reactive all the time. . . you’d never leave the house.

  5. The video never showed the POS writhing on the ground, or just laying there leaking. I feel cheated. I’m also upset that the OD cop didn’t shoot all three of the bastards.

  6. Hey, Rick. You ever “been there or done that” or just another Monday-morning quarterback? Seems like the world is full of “experts” these days that have never “walked the walk” but still feel qualified to critique/criticize others that have.

    • The poor sonofabitch lives in Detroit. I’d say that gives him at least a little credibility on the subject of urban violence…

  7. Illinois: the last state in the union to have concealed carry. thank goodness. this guy was lucky he was police and allowed to carry – it won’t be legal for the rest of us until after March/April

    • He sure was lucky he was a cop. Now he doesn’t have to hear “you didn’t haaaave to shoot him, you waaaanted to shoot him”. Good luck there Mina, I’m rooting for you 90 miles away in Mil.

  8. Where’s the belt fed? Dude should have been putting lead downrange when they were 100 meters out. Could have called in air support…oh…wait…its Chicago not Fallujah…. Then on second thought….

  9. Disagree with the OP that the victim was not situationally aware. Clearly the three low-lifes ran up to him catching him off-guard, but he quickly responded and took care of the situation.

  10. I lived in Shitcago for five years. Cops that I knew recommended that I carry regardless of the law. As a WASPy looking middle aged guy who was at the time in good shape and a little over 6′, I wasn’t really as good a target as some, but as we see here sometimes it just doesn’t matter.

    I generally took the cops’ advice. Of course, if I’d had to use it for a DGU the State’s Attorney’s office would have had a field day.

  11. They had the original video put up, slightly blurry and showing the ‘moment of truth” before. Excellent headshot, 1 shot stop of the threat. The only thing this guy could have done a little better is Situational awareness but I imagine he can’t be drawing his gun every time 3 youths approach.

    • Any chance of repercussions over “If I had a son he would look like…”?

      After all, this was just a troubled youth trying to acquire funds for some Skittles and AriZona Watermelon drink, and Chicago cops are notorious racists.

      • The officer was a Cook County Sheriffs Police officer; the CCSP is generally filled with people who are somehow politically connected or otherwise active so I doubt they will burn a CCSP officer.

        If memory serve the now dead bad guys mom or Grandma was actually on TV saying from the video that the officer had no choice but to shoot; that her kid(or grandkid) was committing a crime. I am sure that tune will change once some lawyer gets ahold of her but this is about as clean a shoot as you can see.

  12. Another option he had available hose them with gasoline. If perp fired the blast would have set off the gas = screaming alpha fires. I have used this once, perp left wet and afraid to smoke.

    • Really? You know how hard it is to get gas to light up. Now the perps probably wouldn’t have known that, but don’t bet your life on it.

      • At 0500 going in to base south of Atlanta, that was my only option. It worked, no I don’t want to try again. When that is you only option, what else would you do.

        Military bases = GFZ

        • Yeah I know they are gun free zones, carry onto mine all the time. Plenty of ways to get around a gate guard.

        • I have had my car searched 10 times as I, with my IWB, watched the MP look for weapons IN my car. Amazingly, I keep a GunVault Nano beneath my seat to secure my pistol while at work and they’ve never found it (or at least never mentioned it).

          But, BTW, military bases are not GFZ. A person living on post may transport his weapon on and off post any time they wish. It is us who do not live on post who have to run the gauntlet.

        • If you are living on base, your must get permission to store your weapon in the armory from the CO and must drive it straight off base or straight to the armory when entering. You are not allowed to just carry it around base. And this is a large pain to deal with, only time I have seen it if for officers living on base.

      • While it’s true gasoline isn’t as easy to light as it is in the movies, it’s still foul-smelling as well as an eye and skin irritant. Not the most effective deterrent but if it’s what ya got, use it.

    • I thought about both of these things when I watched the vid, and you’re right, the teen perp probably would not have guessed at the difficulty of going Human Torch, but a quart of gas in the face can definitely mess with your ability to get a good sight picture.

      One thing to note, however, is that only one of the three was in line for a dose of gas and the cop could not tell if the other tow were armed and might open fire. By the time he pulled the trigger on the one in front of him he was shielded from the other two.

    • it could have been a “defensive gas lighter use” if he had a cigarette lighter with him. Could have torched the whole area and cooked them all.

    • I had that thought too, but I’d be worried about getting the nozzle out and pointed before an already pointed gun had its trigger pulled in response to my movement.

  13. I can’t imagine anyone, no matter how fast, racking the slide before making that shot. Good clip to present in support of one in the chamber. Not that many around here need convincing.

  14. Rule #1-have a gun. I live in Cook County,Illinois. I do business in Chicago all the time. Rule #2-don’t pump gas at 103rd & ghetto with the engine running. NOTHING TO LEARN FROM THIS COP. The esteemed police chief McCarthy has stated his hatred of armed citizens. I’m taking a wait & see attitude on legal carry in Chicago. Supposedly 150000 gang members in Cook County,Illinois. You have NO idea how horrible it all is unless you live here. I used to travel all over the city buying and selling antiques and fine art. Not anymore. Too many 15year olds with guns.

  15. Ive been “approached” twice while pumping gas 1500 miles from Chicago. Both times I think my size and loud voice made the possible perps think twice about trying to jack me. Now that my state actually allows me to legally concealed carry, stand my ground and use deadly force, I dont have to use my size or voice as my only means of defense. Gas stations anywhere are prime targets especially at night or after hours when there is no attendant.

  16. well, in Chicago the thugs know that the vast majority of potential victims will be unarmed.

    An off duty cop should not have more “rights” to defend himself than anyone else.

    • I think we should start saying, “non-LEO citizens should not have a reduced right to self defense,” rather than “cops shouldn’t have a greater right to self-defense.”

      I don’t want to disarm off-duty cops. If I were an off-duty cop, I’d sure as heck be carrying. I just want everyone else to be able to do the same, and we should coach that in language that shows we aren’t hostile to police, who are ALMOST always just guys doing their best.

  17. I really liked how the defender faded back between the column and the car. That, plus the pump itself, served as a fatal funnel that blocked the left and right side attackers from the action and provided the defender with some cover. His immediate blading up to minimize his own profile and conceal the presentation of his sidearm completed the defense. At that point, it was all over but the bang. Nice.

    These things happen so quickly and often without warning that it’s really hard to find fault with someone else’s response; especially when it turned out successful. His original situational awareness, though, is something to highlight. Keep it up, never lose it.

    About the only other thing I might have done differently, is sprayed the middle attacker with the gas nozzle rather than drop it immediately. Aside from my having seen that in a movie or ten, I actually considered it in real life in an incident several years ago, when my sidearm was inside my vehicle and I sensed that something was about to go down. Nothing did end up going down, but the guy and I stared at each other with knowing, calculating eyes for about three seemingly eternal, slow motion seconds as he crossed my path and just kept on walking.

      • They will. Gas pump nozzles are controlled by a vacuum mechanism. When the tank fills up, the gas in the tank blocks a small air hole in the nozzle and creates a vacuum. The vacuum triggers a mechanical switch that disconnects the fueling lever from the fueling valve’s plunger, stopping the flow of fuel. You then have to release the lever completely to reset the valve’s plunger to the lever.

    • I think JAS is right, the nozzle needs that seal for the auto-shutoff to work, as well as for the effectiveness of the vapor recovery, but not for the pump to dispense in the first place. In may be different in CA, but in TX I know this to be the case because I fill up gas cans all the time and those don’t create any airtight seal with the nozzle.

  18. Looks like he did everything right. Well,,,,except for living in a crime riddled sh*thole. Other than that faux pau a solid B+.

  19. I was accosted at 3 AM at a gas station off 95 by two punks who first asked me for 5 dollars then wanted my backpack in the backseat. I pulled the gas nozzle out of the tank and pointed it at them while asking them to leave.
    Funny how they took off and cursed me from the safety of the other side of the parking lot.

  20. One other very important point that was missed… Look at the victim’s weak hand…. just before he pulled and fired he took a step in and with his left hand swept the BG’s gun so it wasn’t aiming at him anymore. It also put the BG off balance, mentally and physically… then bye bye… one less BG roaming the streets.

  21. In the first year of my Concealed carrying, I became aware of a whole new level of personal vigilance and awareness. It is as if the 1991-A1 .45 at my side allowed for my neck to be on a whole new rotational axis!

  22. Arabic translation: “may Allah send you directly to hell”

    most likely talking about the recently deceased and not the defender

  23. They aren’t afraid to speak their mind. PGM-FI Systems for Motorcycles.

    Now while someone else is driving, you can enjoy the amenities in the back with no loud noise interfering with your rest.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here