Take a look at this close call. Note how the robbery suspect is keeping the gun low and concealed to keep people outside the store from seeing what is going on. What do you think your first impression of this situation would have been if you were the person strolling in for a bottle of soda?
I’m not faulting this officer at all, the way the offender was holding the gun she most likely would never been able to see it as she walked in; and from all appearances it probably looked just like any other customer purchasing something. You can’t be doing 3-5 second rushes through every parking lot you pull into and you probably wont be slicing the pie into the local 7-11 when you stop by to grab a Big Gulp. There but for the grace of God go I….numerous times. I’ve just never had the misfortune to walk in on the robbery in progress.
But how easily this could have turned ugly.
It is in your best interest to look at everybody in a situation like this as a potential robbery suspect. In uniform you should be in “condition yellow” at all times. I admit there have been times that I have just avoided going into a convience store due to some of the customers that were inside. Instead of thinking myself paranoid, or a coward, I parked across the street and watched them till they got in their vehicle and left. I would rather deal with a robbery in progress from across the street in my squad than I would wading into the store to see who the better gunfighter was. To date my “gut” hasn’t been correct, but I will always try to listen to it.
Of course that is easier for me to do at 0300hrs than it is for you “daylight people” but I think I made my point.
And its my personal advice to do your best to get a look at the hands of every person within your threat envelope.
Stay safe out there.