Ep. 46 Should I Shoot? The Assailant and the Attendant

Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.

Check out the last five episodes in this series:

It’s Friday, 4:56 p.m. You and your coworker, who happens to be a good friend, have labored through another week of corporate dysfunction and are looking forward to dinner and then the hockey game. You both have had your concealed carry permits for a few years now and carry just about everywhere you go. Just about everywhere. The only places you don’t carry concealed are the ones denoted by the laws of the state you live in. These include places of worship, bars, educational institutions, hospitals, courthouses and entertainment venues seating more than 3,000 people. You’ll be in two of these places tonight. You don’t carry in your office as company policy forbids weapons. As such, your gun spends business hours in your vehicle’s glove box.

It’s a 30-minute drive from your suburban office to downtown where the restaurant and hockey arena are located. You’ve made this trip dozens of times, but you always carry your gun because downtown is still downtown — and one of the cities near the top of the FBI’s list of most violent.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, you and your buddy dutifully place your handguns in the glove box. The restaurant, is, after all, a bar, and you’re planning on celebrating the start of the weekend with a drink or two. The restaurant is crowded, but you and your buddy are able to get a seat at the bar where you enjoy the house special — pulled pork with mac and cheese — and your buddy downs a large cheeseburger. Comfort food at its finest.

You both roll out of the restaurant, stuffed but satisfied, looking forward to the hockey game. Hopping in your car, it’s just a 10-minute drive to the arena, but parking in this city is usually a disaster. As you negotiate the traffic, you and your buddy scout for people managing small, private lots offering close parking spots. For just a few bucks more than a typical garage parking fee, you can get a really good spot. Easy in, easy out.

Just beyond the next intersection, only about 75 yards from the arena, you both spot a guy holding a sign that reads, “$25” — red characters spray-painted on a white board. It’s $10 more than you’ll pay at the parking garage, but the parking garage is three blocks away. You and your buddy look at each and shrug as if to say, “Why not?” As you approach the parking area, your eyes meet those of the guy holding the sign. You point to his lot as if to ask if he has spaces available. He nods vigorously and waves you over, his hand full of cash from those he’s already parked. Your buddy pulls a 20 and a 5 from the cash in his pocket as you start making the turn into the lot. You stop the car at the lot entrance and roll down your window to pay the attendant.

Just then, out of nowhere, a guy in sweatpants, running shoes and a hoodie comes up behind the attendant and swings what looks like a nightstick right at his head. Your eyes must have bugged out a bit as you saw this because the attendant was looking right at you and then turned to look over his shoulder to see his assailant coming. Deftly ducking out of the way, the nightstick misses its mark. But the assailant is quick to reverse the momentum of his swing and try again. This time he brings the nightstick down on the attendant’s left arm, between the shoulder and elbow. He lands the blow with a thud, causing the attendant to scream in pain, buckle at the knees and drop the sign and all his cash.

Should I Shoot?

Scenario 1. Immediately, the assailant swings the nightstick at you, striking your car door and yelling, “Stay in your car, man!” while frantically trying to grab the $10 and $20 bills all over the ground and all over the attendant, who is on also on the ground, holding his left arm with his right hand, writhing in pain.

At this point, your buddy has opened the glove box and retrieved one of the two guns inside and is attempting to open his door. You put the car in park and instinctively thrust your door open, which hits the assailant right on the top of his head, causing him to stumble backwards.

“I told you to stay put, man!” he screams, reaching under his hoodie, into his waist and drawing a trench knife — brass knuckles with a built-in 6-inch blade.

You pull your door shut, lock it and then see your buddy rounding the front of the car, gun in hand. You retrieve your gun from the glove box and look out your car’s window.

Scenario 2. As soon as your buddy reaches your side of the car, the assailant sees him — and his gun — and drops most of the cash and scrambles to his feet to run away. Your buddy pockets his gun and kneels down to help the parking lot attendant. You holster your gun, open your door and get out to help. The commotion has drawn a few onlookers, but no police are in sight. Yet. You get out your phone and dial 911. The dispatcher converses with you in a tone that suggests this kind of thing happens all the time. She tells you a police officer will be along soon. Meanwhile you and your buddy help the parking lot attendant pull himself together. His left arm has a nasty bruise but is not broken. And, frankly, he seems more concerned that you have called the police than the fact that he was just assaulted and almost robbed. He wants to get back to his job of collecting his money for this lot. Just then, the assailant returns, walking around the corner, facing the three of you. He is standing about 30 feet away. The nightstick and the trench knife are not in view. But, then again, neither are his hands. Instead, they’re bunched up under the front of his hoodie.

Scenario 3. It’s clear the assailant and attendant know each other. They both unleash a stream of verbal threats, each taunting the other to come over and settle this once and for all. You and your buddy stand by the attendant, watching the assailant. Your buddy has his hand in his pocket, on his gun. Every now and then, the assailant’s left hand comes out from under his hoodie to aid his verbal assault with an obscene gesture or pointing. His right hand stays hidden. This goes on for several seconds. How you got tangled up with these two is beyond your comprehension, and you dismiss most of their shouting and threats. Except when the assailant takes two steps forward and shouts, “You gonna try to shoot me again?”

That’s when both you and your buddy realize he’s talking to the attendant. At this point, you glance at the attendant and notice he too has his right hand under the front of his shirt. He’s stopped yelling, but his eyes are fixated on the assailant and he’s breathing heavy. You’re getting a bad feeling about this standoff, but it’s at that point you see the red and blue lights of an unmarked police car light up about two blocks away. Immediately, the assailant changes his demeanor to “uninterested citizen taking a walk” and starts walking away from the scene. The attendant shuffles over to the parking lot hut and goes inside. You and your buddy are left standing there when the police car rolls up.

Two officers get out and ask for your ID. You go through the normal steps of informing them about your concealed pistol licenses, which they appreciate but take virtually no interest in. They ask you and your buddy a few questions, indicating they are more than familiar with the feud you just witnessed. Both police officers go to talk to the attendant and then get in the car and enter a brief report on their car’s laptop.

Should I Shoot?

How would any of these three situations have to change in order for you to be justified in drawing your gun and shooting?

For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Mark from Bristol March 20, 2017, 6:58 pm

    Nice downtown restaurants, hockey, and on the FBI’s top ten most dangerous cities? My first guess would have been Chicago, but then I had to take into account concealed carry holder. It’s nearly impossible to be a concealed carry holder in not just Chicago, but the whole state of Illinois. That having been said, if one is FORTUNATE enough to be able to be a concealed carry holder in Chicago, IL. or even Illinois, finding one in the position described here would be a decision that one would have to make on their own, and then have to live with afterwards. I know what I think that I would do, and that’s why I am a concealed carry permit holder, but what someone, anyone else should do would be entirely up to them. I will say this though, if WE should find ourselves in such a situation and I am not carrying my sidearm and you are and can’t make up your mind…hand yours to me. I’ll have no problem living with my decision or a happy ending.

  • Leonard March 19, 2017, 1:20 pm

    21′ rule? If you think an assailant with a knife can’t kill you if he’s 22′ away–or even 30′ away if he’s REALLY determined, or in meth-induced rage, you have another think coming bud! These FBI agents had 9mm pistols and hit their assailants multiple times, and those bullets didn’t stop the bankrobbers from continuing the fight, ultimately killing them–granted, with a rifle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_FBI_Miami_shootout. Just because you shoot someone, doesn’t mean they instantly fall dead–especially if on drugs. If the knife carrier is across the street, you can probably stay in your car and drive off. If you’re out of your car, you’d better shoot. Just a small example of what a knife can do: https://thesurvivalplaceblog.com/2014/07/11/simple-emergency-first-aid-how-to-treat-a-stab-wound/

  • Captain D March 17, 2017, 1:25 pm

    What would have to change? Scenario #1 It is clear the only intent the assailant had was for the cash as he did not continue his assault on the attendant and his attention went to picking up the money. Had the assailant continued his assault on the attendant beating him aggressively into unconsciousness might be cause to intervene. Two against one and armed, Should I Shoot; The assailant would first and stupidly have to turn his aggression and attack on one of us to provoke deadly force, knife or no knife. Here’s the thing though, a jury might find it hard to believe in a two against one scenario that deadly force was our last defense.
    Scenario #2 is pretty much the same as #1 except its three against one now. The assailant would have to stupidly initiate a physical attack on three unless of course he drew a gun out from under his hoodie. Better to take up defense behind the vehicle just to be safe. Scenario #3, In all three scenario’s the assailant would have to do something that would put any one or all three of us in imminent danger or in a risk of life threat. Like drawing a gun or attacking with the knife we already know he has. Seeing that the assailant ran when he saw the gun coming around the car at him showed he was smart enough to flee as the threat to his life just got real. It was right to call 911 and avoid being placed in further danger, attendant’s approval ‘or not.’

    • Jerry March 21, 2017, 11:52 am

      That there are two armed citizens and only one knife wielding assailant is not a factor in whether the criminal has the means to cause grievous bodily harm to any of the three persons under threat. One arm movement by a guy with a dirty trench knife can be life altering for his victim. Cut a nerve or a tendon, or an artery, and the horrid scar is now relatively low on the list of things to worry about. I am sorry that life has to be like this, but a man pulls a knife on me I am shooting to stop him in the fastest manner possible. Nobody has a right to cripple me by cutting the parts that make a limb work, put me at risk of death from blood loss, possibly infect me with some strain of hepatitis or worse, and not even make me hate how I look and affect my dealings with other people for the rest of my life because of some ugly scar that can cause revulsion in others. A knife, any knife, is no joke, but a trench knife was purpose designed to be incapacitating and deadly by soldiers who fought for life and death in an ugly, vicious war.

  • Tom Walker March 17, 2017, 10:43 am

    All’s well that ends well, but the guy coming back knowing there was at least one gun there and keeping his right hand concealed would probably have caused me to act differently at that time. Can’t say for sure; demeanor, distance, backstop, a lot of things feed into the scenario, but the aggressor may not have walked away.

  • Michael March 17, 2017, 10:38 am

    Drawn weapon sure, I would have issued a lot of verbal commands and the assailant would have been at gunpoint through most of this. Not backing your buddy up is a worse transgression here then showing a pistol to a definite felon going out for assault and battery. The part where he has the knife might could get him shot, but you better be solid on why you had to defend everyone recalling the 21 foot rule and his agitated state.

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