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What could I have done?

3993 Views 20 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  yung1s#2
Some Background;
I own a dental assisting school that operates inside a dental office. Our classes run late into the evening starting at 6:00pm and ending at 10:00pm (this is after the business we operate within has closed.) These classes are only for students who have enrolled. Generally I hire instructors but recently I started teaching myself, seeing how I wear scrubs, this week I ordered a Thunder Wear holster so I can conceal carry while teaching.

Needless to say when this happened I was NOT carrying.

Anyways around 8:15pm while my class was in our classroom taking a test I went to the clinical area to set up for the clinics we had that evening. As I turned down a hall I looked up to see a 6 ft African American man medium weight in dark clothes (with his hands in his pockets) standing a few feet in front of me. I looked at him and said, “We are closed you need to leave.” (As I said this I took a few steps back so I would be able to access another hallway to run.) The man mumbled something and again I said, “We are closed you need to leave.” He mumbled something again and I repeated my previous statement just as a student walked up behind me. The man finally headed toward the exit. (The area where I discovered the man was several doors, rooms, and feet from the door he entered through.)

I went to a window to look for plates and never saw him leave (maybe he was on foot? Or another car was blocking him from my sight?) I proceeded to call 911. When the police officer arrived he checked the premises and stated all was clear.

Naturally when I first came upon the man my first thought was, “S*** I don’t have my gun.” On my drive home I ran the scenario through my head and was wondering if I had my gun at what point would I have drawn it and at what point would I have shot? And with that what were my rights? I was scared for my life.

What would you have done? What would have happened had I been carrying and proceeded as stated above? What were my rights?
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I agree with mchlwise on most points. The one below I do not agree with:
mchlwise said:
As the story was told, I believe that if yung1s had pulled a gun, the man could have left and called the police and she would have been investigated if not arrested for brandishing.
As far as I know, you were in your place of business, correct? It was after hours (public not welcome). Had he not left or asked questions after the first request to leave, you are very right to feel threatened. Had you drawn your weapon, and he left after doing so, I would immediately call 911 and report the incident. There is no such thing as "brandishing" in Utah and definitely not while in your place of residence or your business (provided it's yours and you aren't threatening co-workers, etc). You told him to leave, he refused, you prepared yourself to use force to defend yourself and your property. There is no guarantee that any of the students would have heard you, come to your aid, or been able to defend you - so you would have been justified.

Now, the biggest problem here is that you didn't have your sidearm, so your options were limited. That can and should be remedied easily and quickly. Don't be too eager to draw your weapon (you know this), but don't hesitate if you feel your life is in danger. Just because you draw doesn't mean you have to fire. You are much better off drawing and eliminating the threat than waiting until the situation escalates to a point where your abilities or means may not be enough to stop the threat.

Best wishes, I hope you don't ever have anything like that happen again!
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Ok, let me answer some things here.

The two witness thing is unclear in the law. It was most likely created to help reduce gang activity. You need to have two witnesses to testify that you in fact did threaten without justification. If you are alone, you cannot be convicted for that. (U.C.A. 76-10-506)

As far as drawing you weapon, it is a misdemeanor if you draw to the low position and a felony if you point the weapon at someone. Given that the person entered after hours, he might be charged with trespassing or potentially breaking and entering (usually connotes intent of theft or vandalism). In this type of situation I would recommend giving verbal information, "We're closed, come back in the morning." followed by "Stop! Stand back! You need to leave!" placing one hand on the weapon and the other held up in the universal stop sign. Finally, "Stop or I'll shot!" with the weapon at low ready. If the man ignores this and keeps coming, you stop the threat.

I'm not suggesting that you draw under any circumstance. But some people are so set in criteria that they might end up dead rather than in court. Granted you don't want either, but it's better to be convicted by twelve than carried by six. You would at most face a misdemeanor by drawing on this guy. And, to be honest, you most likely wouldn't get charged if you could call 911 quickly and explain that a strange man entered the premises and wouldn't answer questions and wouldn't leave. Unless you shot him without him attacking you, you would likely be fine. How can I say this? Think about it. You are a woman, all alone in a near vacant building with some strange guy that shouldn't be there. He's acting strange (who knows what he'll do) and you are not only smaller than he is, you are also a woman who likely is not as strong as this man. Nobody would charge you on something like this and even if they did, no jury in their right mind would convict you, and even if they did, it's always better to be fined and/or take minimal time than be dead.
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