A bank security camera captured this image of a man who attempted to rob an ATM customer with a dirty needle in Horry County, SC on March 7, 2015.

A woman attempting to use an ATM in Horry County, SC, was forced to defend herself when a robber approached her and produced a dirty needle, threatening to stab her if she didn’t give him her money.

She wasn’t amused.

The victim, who happens to have a concealed weapons permit, drew her weapon on the robber and watched as he ran off, police said.
“The victim stated once the suspect pulled the needle out, she pulled out her handgun and stuck it in the suspect’s face. The victim advised the suspect, ‘I dare you to stab me,'” the report states.

Although the victim didn’t shoot the gun, she could’ve been covered under the Castle Doctrine, which expanded in the past five years to include areas beyond the home. 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said.

“Basically anywhere where you’ve got a right to be and you feel threatened, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be at home,” Richardson said.

A threat to your safety, such as a needle, is all you need as long as you didn’t originally initiate it.

“You’re certainly in imminent fear of your life, you don’t have to be stabbed or hurt or injured to protect yourself,” he said.

We’re very happy to hear that this situation ended up without injury, but please don’t make the mistake that this woman survived making.

You never, ever, stick a gun in someone’s face. Anyone with decent reflexes can act to knock the gun away before you can react, and if that happens, there is going to be the potential for a free-for-all for the weapon. As men are (as a general rule) larger, stronger, and more aggressive than women, odds are that a woman would end up having her weapon used against her in such a situation.

If you are in such a situation, you need to keep your weapon close to your body where you can control it, and then establish distance as rapidly as you can, taking controlled steps to establish distance between yourself and the aggressor. I suspect that instructor opinions will vary, but based on my level of shooting skill and reflexes, I’d want 3 yards of separation before I brought the weapon up to eye level so that I could used aimed fire if required, and I’d be prepared to fire “hammers” (two shots off an single sight picture) and make lateral movement if the robber decided to force the issue.

I’m a little concerned that the robber got close enough to even threaten the woman with a needle in the first place.

You’ll note that the ATM is a freestanding model that apparently allowed the suspect to approach in the woman’s blind spot, and the woman obviously didn’t see anything out of the ordinary when she drove up.

Part of avoiding being a victim of violent crime is risk mitigation. A major part of risk mitigation is situational awareness, including being aware of both possible threats in the form of potential aggressors, and approaches they may use. I personally never use a walk-up ATM, and try to limit my drive-up ATM use to those mounted on the side of bank buildings themselves, and then I move my vehicle up tight against the building itself so that there is little to no room for robbers to approach.

Successful self-defense is not passive, and is far more than simply owning and possessing a gun. Invest in your future and get armed self-defense training from a reputable training company in your area.

You won’t regret it.