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About 4am I was at my office on West Temple (bad part of town) I heard the alarm in my truck go off.. Without a second though I picked up my gun and ran outside to see some guy in my truck with the door still open. I yelled at him to get out, my gun in my hand by my side.

This guy could barely get out of the truck fast enough and took off on foot down the street yelling something about how he was going to hurt me (by this time about 100 yards away and running) ! I thought it was funny.

Theft deterred!
 

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Excellent outcome!

I'm not a lawyer, but from all the good advice that I've read from the likes of Massad Ayoob, the next step is a very important one. You should file a report immediately with the police. This is especially important to do before the BG tries to file one against you for brandishing. Also, don't take the threat too lightly. With the paper-trail in a police report, you have a stronger position if this guy tries to mess with you again.
 

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Yeah! I'm glad things went well.

As Jeff said, FILE A POLICE REPORT!

There are too many lawyers who will take the other guy's side, who give the profession its sad reputation.
 

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Maybe taking the second thought would have been good?
You left the safe confines of your office to respond with a drawn weapon to an alarm that was protecting property--no lives in danger. Glad the outcome was good, but...
Would you have been willing to shoot over your truck? You entered an unknown situation at 4am with an unknown number of goblins to protect it...

I agree with the others about filing a report.

Al
 

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iampacking said:
... You left the safe confines of your office to respond with a drawn weapon to an alarm that was protecting property ...
This is begs many questions.

Should one therefore ignore the alarm?
Call the police and let them handle the (potentially false) alarm?
Scream out the window?
Go down unarmed?

Not to be pedantic, but alarms don't protect property. This situation was a good case in point. The perp was still in the truck with alarm blazing. He apparently didn't care about the noise.

...Would you have been willing to shoot over your truck?...
(This is one area where Utah law is stupid IMHO. Life, Liberty, Property. Geez.) Regardless, this is not the only situation. If one does investigate one's property potentially being violated, one may need to defend life and limb.

I guess ultimately the point that can be quibbled about is whether the weapon should be holstered or held, open or concealed, etc. etc. If the weapon ever is drawn (or even if it wasn't), some bozo can claim that you were brandishing (or anything else). Heck, you can be completely unarmed and they can say that you threatened them with a gun. Lawyers really have down pat the maxim "the best defense is a good offense."
 

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I was told that no matter what if your gun leaves your holster you should call the police and file a report, you don't know if someone else saw you pull the gun and they might call the cops on you.
 

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I think having the gun at low ready is a good idea. You were investigating a bump in the night and needed to be willing and able to defend yourself. But I agree with the above posts: Gun leaves holster = Police are called
 

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I guess ultimately the point that can be quibbled about is whether the weapon should be holstered or held, open or concealed, etc. etc.
I, by no means, am questioning the OP's response. He acted fine, and the outcome was good. However, here's a question to think about:
- Based on this scenario, What if the person/Suspect decides he wants to fight you, and he's unarmed?? In other words, you're outside, weapon drawn, confronting a criminal that has no visible weapon, and instead of running he turns to fight.

I bring this question up to LEO's a lot during training because all too often their weapon gets drawn (imo - too quickly) and they find themselves fighting with one hand while trying to holster their gun. (which understress can be quite difficult)
IMO - for property crimes happening Outside the home, keep the gun holstered until you encounter a real deadly threat.
 

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Besides, you're not justified shooting someone because they were stealing or damaging your property, if your life was never threatened.
 

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barl0w said:
Besides, you're not justified shooting someone because they were stealing or damaging your property, if your life was never threatened.
Just curious but is that statement from a legal point of view or a moral point of view?
 

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You are not justified in using DEADLY force to protect property. Meaning, you can't shoot him simply because he's in your truck. We all know that.

But if he wants to APPROACH you and FIGHT, that's a whole different ball game. Then (depending if he has the potential to clean your plow) you might be justified in using deadly force. He'd be stupid to do that, but maybe he's full of stupid.

All in all, I think the poster did the right thing. It was 4am, dark probably. He let the BG run off, and did NOT use deadly force. I also agree the first thing to do at that point is call the police.
 

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UtahRSO said:
You are not justified in using DEADLY force to protect property. Meaning, you can't shoot him simply because he's in your truck. We all know that.

But if he wants to APPROACH you and FIGHT, that's a whole different ball game. Then (depending if he has the potential to clean your plow) you might be justified in using deadly force. He'd be stupid to do that, but maybe he's full of stupid.

All in all, I think the poster did the right thing. It was 4am, dark probably. He let the BG run off, and did NOT use deadly force. I also agree the first thing to do at that point is call the police.
:agree:
 

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Now I know that in a case where a crime is being committed, misdemeanor or felony, we as citizens have the right to place the BG under citizens arrest, not to say that it will be held up in court, but in that sense if you fall upon someone breaking into your car like the story and you begin to place the person under citizens arrest and they begin to fight back are you justified in using your gun? I am not sure, but correct me if I am wrong, you can only use your gun, displayed or dischage of it, when some is believed to commit a felony on you or someone in your presence?
 

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ndavis2008 said:
I am not sure, but correct me if I am wrong, you can only use your gun, displayed or dischage of it, when some is believed to commit a felony on you or someone in your presence?
Here's what I believe. I can't speak for everyone. But I will take my weapon out, with the intent to use it, when I know that without a doubt that my life or one of my family member's life is in imminent danger. Life or death.
 

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ndavis2008 said:
I am not sure, but correct me if I am wrong, you can only use your gun, displayed or dischage of it, when some is believed to commit a felony on you or someone in your presence?
To be precise, outside your home you can only use deadly force in order to prevent imminent serious injury, death, or a forcible felony. You can't shoot after the fact.

If you saw someone use a gun to rob a store, or even kill somebody then drop the gun and walk calmly away, you can't legally shoot him. Since it doesn't appear that he's about to hurt or rob anyone else right then, the law does not allow you to use deadly force. Cops may be allowed to shoot a fleeing felon (not sure), but nothing in Utah law allows citizens to.

That said, I doubt you'd get prosecuted if you drew down on a murderer and started screaming that he'd better get on the ground or you'd shoot, and if you were prosecuted I can't imagine a jury convicting. Odds are if you ACT like you're just about to pull the trigger, he'll comply unless he's flat crazy. If he doesn't comply, though, don't shoot him.
 

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1. You don't play bluff with a tool that has lethal potential.
2. "Gun in hand" is a reasoned action given the totality of circumstances and the likelihood of a threat. Be prepared: (He could have easily had a weapon too).
3. If you break holster and issue commands it should be because you have perceived a potential threat and you have the discipline to follow through.
4. Gun in one hand and cell phone in the other would have been good too. Vebal commands like; "Do you see this gun! You are under arrest, the police have been called." are good adds.
 

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safeguy said:
1. You don't play bluff with a tool that has lethal potential.
2. "Gun in hand" is a reasoned action given the totality of circumstances and the likelihood of a threat. Be prepared: (He could have easily had a weapon too).
3. If you break holster and issue commands it should be because you have perceived a potential threat and you have the discipline to follow through.
4. Gun in one hand and cell phone in the other would have been good too. Vebal commands like; "Do you see this gun! You are under arrest, the police have been called." are good adds.
I disagree with all but the last.

In general, I think your points are correct, but I think there are situations that warrant drawing and threatening (bluffing), even though the imminent danger has passed. Remember that in the scenario I painted, you've just witnessed a murder by a BG who has the presence of mind to obviously disarm himself so as to remove your reasonable fear that he's about to hurt someone else. Are you really just going to let him walk away? You can't legally use deadly force. You could tackle him, but what if he has a knife or something? I'm not getting within arm's reach of someone I know is a killer.

In that situation, I'm going to bluff for all I'm worth. I'll do my best to appear a crazy man, a twitch away from pulling the trigger. At the same time, I'm going to keep my finger well away from the trigger, and keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Those weaken the bluff, of course, but it's the best compromise I can make between safety and keeping him from escaping to possibly hurt someone else.

In the case of most lesser crimes, I'd take the approach you suggested. Well, I'm not sure I'd point out the gun -- that could easily be interpreted as threatening. In a situation where you don't want to take the risk of getting an assault charge by threatening, I think you're better off not mentioning the gun at all. If you are willing to risk an assault charge, you may as well draw. If the guy is looking and you can make the gun's presence clear by putting your hand on it, you can probably make a good case that you didn't do it to threaten, but just to ensure you had quick access in case he did something that warranted deadly force.

I know this is a pretty far-fetched scenario. I like to explore the edges to get a better understanding of the appropriate responses.
 

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Swilden, all your points are valid, but we are talking about coming across someone who is in the process of committing a crime. In the initial post he came across someone committing a crime, breaking into his truck unlawfully, and the same is if you come across someone committing murder, yes you can use your gun if it is a felony. You are right as far as if the crime has been committed and then you stumble across the BG. For one thing you didn't see the crime committed you are not 100% positive that he is the one that committed the crime, only the courts can decide that. Yes he would sure look guilty if he was standing above a dead body, but that is not for us to decide and that is when the bluff comes into play. But in the case where he saw someone in his truck who had broke into it, that is different. Ya it probably could have been handled different. I am not about to shoot someone who is merely just stealing, but I will let him know that I am not about to let him go. I would have my hand on the gun in holster ready for my protection. Most likely I would just ask for my stuff and let him go so that there was no problem with ever having to draw my gun. Maybe if there was damage to the vehicle or property I would try to keep him there.
 

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ryan kiel said:
About 4am I was at my office on West Temple (bad part of town) I heard the alarm in my truck go off.. Without a second though I picked up my gun and ran outside to see some guy in my truck with the door still open. I yelled at him to get out, my gun in my hand by my side.

This guy could barely get out of the truck fast enough and took off on foot down the street yelling something about how he was going to hurt me (by this time about 100 yards away and running) ! I thought it was funny.

Theft deterred!
Here's what to do in the event that they DON'T take off like a light:

Man learns crime is a "bummer"

Yikes!
 
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