A "Shoot First" Scenario? How To React in Robbery

JBS

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This is a real life developing situation. Where I am, there have been a string of robberies where two masked men have come into Harris Teeter grocery stores armed with handguns. Apparently there are always exactly two of them. Watching the reports made me wonder how I would react since one of the stores was knocked off at a time when I frequently shop there. In other words the chances are high that I could have possibly been there when it was robbed and I am almost always armed.

These thugs apparently come in fast, wearing ball caps and with bandanas over their mouths. While they come in, they assault people, including striking them, fire shots into the air inside the building and then after establishing dominance near the front of the store, they rush the back where the managers keeps the money.

From what I understand, once they are done, they are gone as fast as they came.

Now the scenario: you are armed with a sidearm (well maintained highly accurate .45 with high quality self defense ammo and one in the chamber as well as 2 spare mags) as you are leaving the checkout counter. You see two men with bandanas rushing from the parking lot through the large glass windows in front of the store. You're confident with your shooting, there are no other people in the entryway of the store, but there are two of them and one of you. Do you lay low and try to stay out of the way? Do you run to the furthest end of the store and take up a position? Do you take up a covered position behind the counter and draw?

I should add that in this scenario, you are facing the front of the store when you notice the rushing gunmen, and on either flank as well as to your rear, there are people in line. You have seconds to decide your actions and the consequences will put your life and the lives of those around you in danger.
 

CDG

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My initial reaction is to shout to the other shoppers to take cover, get yourself behind something, and prepare to fight. With guys like that, someone challenging them with a weapon may be enough to cause them to turn and run. However, it could also cause them to just start blasting which obviously puts other shoppers at risk. Are their weapons visible at the point you first pick them up? If so, perhaps a quick double tap drill on each one would tie the whole thing up quite nicely
 

TLDR20

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It's hard to say what is the best thing to do, I think I would be shooting, at which point I don't know, I wouldn't want to shoot through glass, or really anything over 10M's. My accuracy at anything farther than that might make the situation a bit more stressful.
 

SkrewzLoose

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How big is the store? Is there CCTV? Security cameras?
What are the consequences of your actions if you decide to shoot these 2 guys in the face? I would assume Castle law doesn't come into play because it's not your house. They're not directly targeting you, so would Stand Your Ground stick? What if the PoPo show up and you're standing there with a smoking gun and 2 dead bodies? Initially it seems that the bad outweighs the good.
As CDG said, what if you call their bluff? What are the chances of them shooting the guy who stands up to them (no weapon brandished yet) and says "hey guys, fuck off." Maybe that moment of indecision would be enough to make them re-think their decision. Target another store? Chances are they'll keep up their shenanigans until they get caught.
Or, they could just be picking up a new hoodie, bag of skittles and some ice tea.
 

Ranger Psych

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Weapons, no brand insignia of your local variant of LEO, and they're dressed as robbers and in the process of an armed robbery?

I would guess I would say it depends.

If I'm in the checkout line up front?
Failure drills for everyone!!! Alaska law I would be in the defense of myself, and of... how many others in the store? Not to mention my 2 y/o who's always in a baby ruck on my back when we go out.

If I didn't have LOS at the time of rounds going off, I haven't "made contact" yet and I would be hard pointing as would the wife at some semblance of an advantageous position.

That kind of robbery wouldn't really happen here, and work that well. Only town in the county, state trooper office + sheriff's dept + local PD + federal agencies... You could take a lawn chair to the street corner up the way and You couldn't finish a beer at a backyard leisurely pace without having seen at least 3 cars from 2 agencies.
 

0699

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I would grab the nearest small child, curl up in a tight little ball on the floor, and hold the child in front of me as a shield...
 

tmroun01

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I would grab the nearest small child, curl up in a tight little ball on the floor, and hold the child in front of me as a shield...
No no no you need to find the biggest mouth breather in the store (probably in the candy aisle) and use them as a shield. BAM two birds with one stone! Shooting the bad guys and population control!
 

policemedic

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Just a thought.

Gunfights in crowded stores are bad mojo. There's something to be said for taking (concealed) cover and being prepared to engage if absolutely necessary. If that's not possible, then you have to consider options.
 

JBS

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How big is the store?
In this (real) scenario, the stores are all large well stocked grocery stores typical of suburbia.

Is there CCTV? Security cameras?
Yes and yes. Everywhere. Whatever you do will be replayed, probably from multiple angles. Most of the coverage will focus on you inside the store, with very little coverage on what happens outside, out front, until the thugs enter the building.

What are the consequences of your actions if you decide to shoot these 2 guys in the face? I would assume Castle law doesn't come into play because it's not your house. They're not directly targeting you, so would Stand Your Ground stick? What if the PoPo show up and you're standing there with a smoking gun and 2 dead bodies? Initially it seems that the bad outweighs the good.
In most states, shooting armed thugs in the face is fine. If they have weapons out, they are a threat to your life, therefore they are green lighted.

As CDG said, what if you call their bluff? What are the chances of them shooting the guy who stands up to them (no weapon brandished yet) and says "hey guys, fuck off."

I don't quite understand that. These guys come in, whack people in the face with the magazine well of their pistols. I can't think of a scenario where I'm even going to talk to them AT ALL, let alone play Dirty Harry.
 

SkrewzLoose

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JBS , thanks for the clarification.
I think, as a few people have hit on, taking some kind of cover and using those few seconds to weigh your options/possible outcomes would be best. I've NEVER been in any kind of situation like this though, so I have no idea what I'd do once the adrenaline started flowing. I think that's the X factor.
 

JBS

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It's amazing how even a straightforward scenario like two armed & dangerous bad guys coming through the front door can pose so many variables. Thinking through them in realistic exercises like this should be good in the sense that one probably should decide in advance what their actions would generally be so that it is reaction rather than thought if the real thing were ever to come to pass.
 

RustyShackleford

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Gunfights in crowded stores are bad mojo. There's something to be said for taking (concealed) cover and being prepared to engage if absolutely necessary.

I would have to agree. Given the scenario, this sounds like a "be a good witness" type situation unless you absolutely have to intervene. It sucks and not what most guys want to hear, but you start slinging lead and bystanders get killed or injured because of your actions you are in for it.
 

CDG

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Thinking through them in realistic exercises like this should be good in the sense that one probably should decide in advance what their actions would generally be so that it is reaction rather than thought if the real thing were ever to come to pass.

Despite what some of his decisions and his Rogue Warrior books mean for his credibility, one thing I read by Dick Marcinko that has always stuck with me is this very concept. He referred to it as "war-gaming". He did not invent this and was likely not the first to talk about it, but one of his non-fiction books was the first I had ever heard of it. I find myself constantly doing this. I see someone who looks like potential trouble, and I start thinking, "Ok, if he does X, I'm doing Y and if he does Y then I am doing Z." I also do it a lot in elevators or other confined spaces. "Ok, if this guy suddenly attacks me, what am I going to do." I will even find myself shifting physical position and posture based on a conceived COA. Nothing major, just turning my body slightly in a certain direction or shifting my weight.
 

Etype

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My initial reaction in any type of uncomfortable situation is always to grab at my pistol- especially after my last deployment where I was only carrying a pistol for about 75% of the 8 months. So I'm sure I'd have my gun out before any type of rational thinking even occurred- which is probably the wrong answer.
 

Sendero

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I'm going to find the best concealed spot I can and hope for the best. If it's a grocery store, it means I'm there with my wife. If they focus ill intent on my family, It is my belief I "commit to the slaughter" (Paul Howe Quote).

Most likely every poster before me has more tactical experience than I do. This is just my opinion from reading books on combat mindset (Paul Howe & Grossman), taking the CSAT Tac Pistol Course and lot's of pistol practice.
 

Centermass

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Seeing how Harris Teeter is over priced and only blue bloods shop there, I would hold off regarding any type of intervention inside of one for fear of a lawsuit......

Now, if it's a Piggly Wiggly scenario we're talking about, that's a whole nother ball game.
 

Etype

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I love seeing old men in the south who open carry. It's usually something awesome like a 6" .357 revolver.
 
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