A violent armored robbery occurred on a sunny Friday afternoon. I offered to help a friend sell his Jet Skis from his house as he was in hospital. A gent contacted me as he was interested in the Jet Skis from Potchefstroom and we arranged for him to come through and finalize the deal. They arrived on a Friday at 15.30pm; they could not perform an EFT as they had no access to a bank and they had just broken the screen on their phone and could not do banking. They decided to draw money from a local bank.
They drew R20.000 for the Jet Skis; I was waiting at the bottom of the driveway with a clear view of the road and gate so I could open for them on their arrival. They then arrived at the gate and I open it, as they drove into the driveway another car pulled into the gateway and blocked the sensor of the gate so I could not close the gate. Four men exited the car and then I knew this is trouble. The buyers did not even see the other car behind and were happily waving hello to me as they passed to drive to the bottom of the garden, unbeknown to them they had armed men running behind their car.
The four men with firearms started to run at me with no question asked, no shouting, no warning, I now knew that this was no joke and we are going to get badly hurt here. They had to cover 12m to get to my point; they were running full steam with firearms in hand. As this was a hot Friday and we were headed off to the local to have a beer and burger, I kept my firearm in a (Gun bag) Moon bag with a quick zip for immediate action and not on my hip as always. I ran to my bakkie to get my Glock 22 in my moon bag, and shouted to my partner, run!
I got the firearm in time, as I turned around they were approximately 4m away from my position and have already started firing rounds in my direction.
I started firing at the closest man to me while moving backwards... I am hoping that my firearm will work as it has always done on the range, and that the .40 S&W Winchester Ranger 165gr T-Series expanding bullets actually work. No time to focus on the front sights, just firing, he was firing at me and I was returning fire into his body, not sure if it was hitting him.
They seem to be working as he is falling to the ground, I see blood fly off him in long sprays, as I was moving back in a natural form of escape, fortunately I fell over onto my back caused by my flip flops got caught on uneven ground, he was still firing at me and he missed every shot. My wife is watching this from the window of the bakkie, when I fell she thought I was shot, only one can imagine watching fall thinking that they are dead.
While I fell I thought I was shot as this is not my normal firing position, I never felt the burn or sensation of being shot as described by many other that have been in this position. When he fell to the ground he was still pointing the firing at me so I fired another two rounds into his side as my life was still in danger, and that was the closing shots. I watched his eyes close and die from these gunshot wounds and trauma caused. I never knew that that I was actually my target; I thought I missed all my shots; I fired eight rounds in total, was it too many, was this excessive force, my life was in danger so I fired until he fell.
He died very quickly, which was good as I had one less threat to worry about, I got up and started to run after the car with the three suspects that run away as soon as I started to fire. I used cover around the driveway and bolted on the tar road, I felt my feet burn and the skin tear. They were gone as quick as they came, while running I shouted out to people to call the Police. While I decided to run back to the house and this is chase is now a lost cause, I did a self body check to see if there is any blood on me, none, I carried out a magazine check and chamber check to see my ammunition balance. When running back to the house I had bad thoughts of leaving my partner behind unprotected and alone with these two strangers that came to buy the Jet Skis.
For a second I thought that they had brought these four guys in to take over the whole house, tie us up and do whatever they wish. I pointed they firearm at them while running towards the scene and they shouted don't shoot don't shoot. They were already on their knees, so I largely assumed that they were not in on this violent robbery and saw that they had no firearms to attack me. They had no idea what was going on, they in fact thought that I was robbing them of the cash. They thought that when I let them in I let my gang in to block the driveway and rob everyone present. They shouted don't kill us, don't kill us.
I did a check on the man lying down, he is still down and we all are ok, I again made sure my wife is ok.
They buyers came to me and said here is the money for the Jet skis, we are never coming back to Jhb again, they could not believe that someone had just saved their lives from the most aggressive criminals in Jhb, they have been sought after by the police for many years and have murdered many police members and civilians of cash and firearms. They are known for bank robberies and very violent crimes; they had not time to ask questions and were willing to kill anything that moved.
They took nothing from us and we are happy to be alive. The Police arrived and they were very professional and thorough. All the very top Police were there to handle the situation and were happy as they have been looking for this gang for a long time. It seems like the guy was the ring leader and he was firing a fully loaded Z88 pistol which was found under his chest, the Police were content that there is one less man in the area killing ruthlessly with no questions asked. We all know and believe that we all would have been killed for cash, so it was him or me and us.
The Police took statements from all parties there were that day; they then took my firearm for ballistic testing and waited to get it back.
The whole incident took a matter of seconds really and it shows that not only a good working firearm with carry ammunition (expanding bullets), a good sense of how the firearm works and what loaded condition its in, but the awareness and the ability to react to a life threatening situation saved lives that day.
It was scary to hear later on that week from the Police that the gang actually consisted of eight members and that the other four were waiting around the corner to take control of the house and then they could have taken the whole house and done whatever they wanted with us.
Did we need post therapy of any sort, yes we did. This is traumatic and will play on your mind for a long time. Seek help and guidance; speak about your incident with close friends and family
There are some lessons to learn, don't make transactions with cash, EFT is the only way and get proof that the transaction took place. Always carry your firearm on your hip, if not then practice drawing the firearm from that bag. Training is important, practice as much as you can.
Always be aware of your surroundings and when you draw cash from a bank, look who is tailing you, if so change your route and go to the nearest Police station.
Reaction is the key to survival; 95% of people, who survived an attack, did so by doing something. Don't just stand there, draw and fire, move, hide, take cover, shout and scream, reload, first aid...
People who never survived an attack or was injured, it's because they
"Could not believe that this is happening to me"
"I thought this was a joke"
"I asked the criminal if I could help him, can I help you"
"What are you doing here?"
Understand that these kinds of scenarios can happen everywhere, anywhere, anytime... You must be prepared to handle these situations, and most of it is from the mental state.
You must survive the attack, then you must survive the Legal system, then you must survive what's left over and that's what's in your head. Violence is a terrible thing, but sometimes its' necessary to beat the evil in our world.
Awareness is the state of preparedness for a life threatening situation, you must be prepared to recognize the danger signs and have the ability to deal with them. You can have all the gear and no idea -Preparedness with all the most expensive gear will never save your life, awareness the danger, then to reaction.
The colour codes of awareness was put together by an USA Col Jeff Cooper and then later on was modified by a Firearm training officer/ Author, Massad Ayoob, he added on the Colour code BLACK to the original codes of awareness.
They are as follows with a brief description, use them, they will save you one day.
Colour Code White
Colour code white refers to a state of total relaxed awareness; there is no awareness at all. This is a dangerous mindset to be in, as you are in a dream state and not paying attention at all. This could include driving. You are either thinking in the past or future, your reaction time will be much slower as you are not in the present mindset and your surroundings.
Tip: WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE
Colour Code Yellow
Yellow is the next level of awareness, it's the relaxed state of awareness, you should know where are the kids, where is my wife, is the house locked up and where are the keys etc. Is my firearm loaded and ready to go if anything could happen. It's the state where you cannot be surprised.
Tip: SEE THEM BEFORE THEY SEE YOU
Colour Code Orange
Orange is the state of alert; you have heard noise or seen people panicking, people running, dogs barking, tires screeching, women shouting or any other visual or audible sign that will alert you to a problem in your direct area of safety. You now have found safe areas, or an escape route to use if the problem gets worse.
Tip: PAY ATTENTION TO THESE, DON'T DISCARD
Colour Code Red
Red is the decision making stage, now you need to decide on your actions, this is the stage when you will know what to do, even its flight or fight. Must I use my firearm to protect myself and family, must I run, must I hide, and must I take cover.
Tip: MAKE THE DECSION AND LIVE WITH IT
Colour Code Black
This is the action phase of the codes; you now need to act upon your decision, if you going to use your firearm to protect yourself and use lethal force, then it must be done with much commitment. If you are going to run, then do so with much passion. You must know that you cannot give up and do nothing, as you know doing nothing will not help you in survival.
Reaction and action are two different things. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you are in a dream state mindset, you have to react to his action, you will be slower. That's why you need to pay attention to your surroundings and use every human sense that was given to you to survive and protect your family.
Tip: NEVER GIVE UP, FIGHT UNTIL THE LIGHTS GO OUT
A short summary of how the body reacts in a physical manner. Once your brain perceives a threat to life, then your body will react to this alarm in sections and firstly your adrenal glands pump adrenaline into your blood stream to give you the energy to react to the attack.
Then the fight or flight reflex will kick in as your decision time is now, run or fight and if you do so, do with all that energy you have to survive., Loss of fine motor co-ordination is not needed now, you don't need to carry out any fine co-ordination procedures, like get a key into a key hole or dial a number on a phone. This can be dangerous as you will need to operate small procedures on a firearm, or get into a vehicle and drive away, loss of fine motor co-ordination can be detrimental.
Gross physical strength is needed to fight, run or carry a person on your back and escape. This has been seen when people are in car crashes that they turn cars back over onto their wheels to assist trapped family in the car. Your body is now a top performance machine and ready to survive things you never thought possible.
The tunnel vision reaction occurs when all this happens and it focus your eyes onto the threat, maybe a knife or firearm. This is not a good reaction for us as we can get attacked from the sides, so we need to break that tunnel vision as soon as possible.
Audible sounds are not needed in a life threatening situation, so the body's reaction is to shut the ears off. If you were in a School fight or similar, you would never be able to hear your friend shouting at you, "Fight, fight". Very little audible information comes through.
Tachy Psyche Syndrome is the minds action to the situation, your mind gathers all the information needed to survive and then slows down the mind so that it can give you extra time to react. This is most incredible reaction to assist in survival.
The mind goes into a slow motion movie like state of mind so that you can survive the attack. This movie that has been experienced will always be there and you will be able to recall it like you remember it on that day. That's why it's difficult to forget trauma in a Tachy Psyche syndrome state.