in this story.
Shortly after we were seated I noticed a man come in and act pretty rudely to the hostess. He took a seat on the far side of the room facing the door, mostly with his side/back to me. Nothing abnormal about this, as I do it all the time [.] I was watching as he sat down and I saw him print pretty clearly when his grip caught on the spindle of the chair – he adjusted quickly and it was gone. […] I probably wouldn’t have given it much more thought as FL is a CC only state, but I’m not a big fan of a rude people to begin with, and as many of you like myself spend a lot of time watching other people you understand when I say something was just off about him. He seemed almost like he was nervous, but that doesn’t quite describe him correctly. If I had to use a word I would say “shifty”.
As our food was being delivered another man entered and took a seat by the windows where my family and I were. I noticed that he was watching the first man, and at some point he became aware of the fact that I was watching both of them. We smiled politely at each other after making accidental eye contact once. The alarms in my head were really going off, because the second guy had come in already interested in the first guy. I was pretty uncomfortable with the situation, and urged my wife to hurry up so we could hit the road again (a nearly impossible task, she’s a very slow eater). I remember turning slightly in my chair so I could clearly draw if I needed to.
We started to leave and while my daughter was collecting her purse and sandals from the floor (don’t ask me why she loses her shoes every time) the first guy got up and went to the register to pay. The second guy made a noise that caused me to glance in his direction – he looked sharply down at his waist and in his hand was a badge, then he glanced at the register and motioned me to wait. The Officer got up and headed towards the register. I quickly shook my head slightly no, turned my body to block my strong side from the register, and pulled my shirt back slightly to expose my Glock and nodded my head towards the register (I was really hoping he would understand that I was trying to tell him the first guy had a gun, and not anything else). I let my shirt fall back and slid my hand back to where the first guy had his weapon. The officer shook his head slightly and continued to leave.
I waited until they had both left the building before paying for our own meal and sent my wife to take my daughter to the bathroom one last time so I could head out to the parking lot first. When I walked outside there were several Florida Highway Patrol cars parked near mine, I could see them searching the vehicle parked next to me. One of them walked over towards me and said “Howdy Tex” (alluding to my hat) and held out his hand. I shook it, and he told me he just wanted to say thanks for the heads up. He said he couldn’t provide any details, just that he had been asked to say thanks[.]
Not a word was said about my carrying. Not once was I asked to produce my license(vehicle or weapon). Good for them.
This was a well handled situation, both by the police and the concealed carrier. The police did well both by the officer in the restaurant noticing the carrier’s attention to the suspect, warning the carrier, and not reacting negatively on seeing the carriers firearm, and the other officer with the “thank you” outside afterward, and by recognizing that the carrier was a ‘good guy’ and they didn’t need to harass him outside. The carrier did well by noticing a suspicious person and his weapon, and by acting to notify the officer once he realized that he was probably going to confront the suspect outside.
There are some suggestions, in the forum and at Robb’s, that a hand signal may have been better than flashing his gun – and the carrier acknowledges this later in the forums. I would tentatively agree, since it could have been mistaken as a threat (though that’s less likely since he had his wife and child with him). There was also always the chance that he could have been one of those anti-armed-citizen cops who would have had the carrier eating pavement at some point. On the other hand, I wonder if a hand signal might have been visible enough from the register to tip off the suspect, since they were both taking pains to keep things hidden. The bottom line, though, is that everything worked out okay in the end, and an officer who may or may not have known beforehand that the suspect he was after was armed was warned before confronting him – it might have saved someone’s life.
Good job all around, and a great learning experience for everyone to pay attention to.
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[Source: GeorgiaPacking.org thread, retrieved 8/29/11]
(h/t Sharp as a Marble)