“It Happened To Me!”

DUMBEST CRIMINAL I spent 35 years in law enforcement and…

I spent 35 years in law enforcement and have been in a number of combat situations, on the winning side each time. But on March 27, 2009, I became a victim.

I was attending the Pennsylvania Narcotics Enforcement Officers Conference, and had presented a four-hour lecture the day before on Risk Management & Raid Planning to the 300 cops in attendance. I was in the lecture hall at approximately 8:15 AM awaiting the last guest speaker and decided to hit the lavatory before he started. I walked about 30 feet to the closest men’s room, and as I entered, a male was standing at the sink washing his hands. He gave me “that look.” I got a wrenching feeling in my gut that something was wrong. But, I had to go. I had a gun on my ankle and there were 300 cops 30 feet away.

I went into the stall and relaxed for about five minutes. As I exited the stall, the subject, still in the restroom, placed a .40 caliber automatic into my face, stating, “Move and I will kill you! Give me your money or I will kill you!” I made an immediate assessment while putting my hands up (about 3 inches from the perp’s gun) that he was not a junkie, and considering I had to retire due to a back injury I would only be able to fight him for about ten seconds before I would become immobilized from pain. I decided to go with it and deal with him outside. I told him that nobody wanted to get hurt over money and gave him my wallet and money. He told me if I followed him he would kill me and ordered me to give him my cell phone and then drop my pants. I complied, covering the ankle holster while talking him into just taking the money and leaving. He backed out the door.

I drew my .40 caliber Kahr, pulled up my pants and ran after him. The desk and main entrance was about eight steps up. I yelled to the clerk to call 911 and yell downstairs that a police officer needs assistance. As I exited, the perp was crouched in the back of a taxicab that was pulling out. Since I have lectured at this convention for about ten years, I knew the cab would have to come back down the next row to exit the hotel. I did a felony stop on the cab and yelled to the perp, “If you move your hands I will kill you!” He did not move.

Ten cops going to class were passing the desk. The clerk yelled that one of their cops needs help outside. I watched as the cavalry came with guns drawn. I told them he was armed, I had him covered and that he robbed me. They removed him from the cab and recovered the gun, my wallet, money and cell phone.

This made international news when I labeled him the “Dumbest Criminal In Pennsylvania.” There were 100 marked and unmarked police cars in the parking lot and a billboard sized sign in the entrance saying, “Welcome Pennsylvania Narcotics Officers.” The perp, a 19-year-old, went on trial three days later for six armed robberies of pizza deliverymen. In each case he pistol-whipped the victims, crushing their skulls. He knew that I was not going to let him do that to me.

He is only alive because I had disregarded one of my most sacred rules — never wear an ankle holster unless it is a second gun. Thank God for HR-218, because if I did not have my firearm with me I probably would have chosen a different course of action, and who knows how that would have ended.

— JC, NJ

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