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The apartment complex I live in used to be nice, but has been over-run with gang-bangers in the past year or so, and last fall I had an incident with one of them.

I am a disabled, retired Army vet and former LEO, currently working security, and as part of my lease I have a designated handicapped parking space in front of my apartment. I am never without either my Keltec P-11 or my Taurus PT-145 in my right cargo (thigh) pants pocket.

One day I returned home after work (in civvies—I never wear my uniform around the apartments) to find a car parked in my space. Several people were standing around, and I asked if anyone knew who the car belonged to. Of course, they didn’t know.

So I followed my usual procedure when this happens; I parked my pickup behind the offending car to block it and called a tow truck. I had not even walked the 30 feet to my door when I heard a horrendous screeching, yelling and cussing coming around the back of the building, and a man and woman came running around the corner (I assume one of the people there called them on a cellphone). They both were yelling and cussing at me to move my truck, which I refused to do, pointing out the parking sign to them, telling them the tow truck was on the way.

A neighbor I did recognize finally politely asked me to move the truck, and I relented for her and did so. The woman moved the car, but he came up to about 5 feet away from me and began to cuss and threaten to kill me, kill my dog, and burn my truck. I know that you cannot show fear or back down to these people, ever, so I immediately put my right hand in my pocket and gripped my pistol (the Taurus .45 that day) and used my left hand to call 911 on my cell. I requested an emergency police dispatch because I was being threatened at my own front door. Even though I made this call in front of them, the guy continued to threaten me. I still felt I had control of the situation because of the presence of my pistol; if he escalated from threats to actions before the police arrived I could and would protect myself.

The police arrived in less than two minutes, and as soon as they pulled up he turned and began to rapidly vacate the area, still mouthing off. I yelled at the police that I had called them, and he had threatened me, and one officer stopped him while the other came to talk to me. I explained the situation to the officer, then stated that “I was armed, and the ganger could talk and mouth off all he wanted, but if he took a step towards me I would shoot him.” The officer responded, “Absolutely. No problem.”

He then went over to where his partner had the ganger, they all talked for a few minutes, then the ganger left. Since then, the ganger parks on the other side of the building and I haven’t seen him on my side again.

Although I didn’t use my pistol, I know that having it made me in control of the situation, and may well have saved me from an immediate, or future attack.

—MC, the Internet

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