We covered the attempted robbery of a Georgia store just after Christmas. It didn’t go so well for one of the robbers, who was killed at the scene. The other fled.
We now have security camera video of that incident.
The scene opens with an employee raising his hands as the robbers come through the door with guns drawn.
The gun store owner, Jimmy Groover (at the bottom of the screen, white hair), appears to be doing paperwork.
Groover turns to see his employee’s hands raised and the robbers. The first robber is currently behind a post.
As Groover sees the first robber come past the post, he steps back and away.
Groover is off camera for the moment, but as he’s clearly a trained shooter, I can still tell you precisely what he’s doing. He’s squaring up on the robber, and getting a firing grip on his handgun.
It’s the hits that matter. In the photo above, Groover has just drawn his pistol, aimed, and fired his first shot. Groover breaks his shot a split second before the robber fires his. It’s a fatal hit. The employee ducks down, out of frame.
The robber is already starting to drop from the first shot when several more rounds hammer out in his direction from Groover’s pistol.
Groover follows his sights, still on target as the bad guy drops, firing several more rounds. The display case glass shatters as he’s now firing through it. Robber number two has decided he has a pressing engagement elsewhere and flees the store.
Robber One hits the ground and drops objects out of each hand, at least one of which was a gun. I strongly suspect that the very first shot was a central nervous system hit to either the upper spine through the throat or upper chest. Gravity, not his brain, is fully in control of his few remaining actions.
Robber One is down, dead or nearly so. Groover engages the fleeing suspect with a number of shots, but doesn’t make any apparent hits.
Groover steps out to track the fleeing suspect, but he’s gone.
The gunfire apparently sets off the gun store’s fire suppression system, and a mist begins to fill the air. The fight is over.
From the moment Mr. Groover recognized there was a robbery in progress to him firing his gun and killing a robber was four seconds, folks.
Four seconds was the difference between Groover’s utterly routine morning doing paperwork, and having to use a weapon to take someone’s life to save his own.
You will never be able to think your way through a situation like this folks. You’re just not. It’s too radical of a shift in circumstances to take in all the information, process it, decide on a course of action, and then execute an action to an event that is now history. You’re always going to be behind the curve unless the bad guy makes a major error. That’s why criminals are successful so much of the time, as they get to choose the time and circumstances of their attacks.
So how did Jimmy Groover prevail? How did he go from being surprised by a robber to getting the first shot off in a matter of mere seconds?
It’s matter of training so that he had a preprogrammed response in place.
Mr. Groover is clearly a well-trained trained shooter, and he’s had a plan in his head on how he would response to a threat like this for decades. He’s likely played out robbery scenarios in his head hundreds of times, and has probably drawn and fired against simulated threats thousands of times at the range, in competitions, and/or in dry fire.
He was able to get ahead of the robber—who was processing information and making decisions about what to do as the robbery unfolded—because Groover didn’t have to “think” once he identified the threat. His training kicked in, and from that moment, he was driving events, not the robbers.
We see crimes reported in the news every day. In some of those the good guys win, and in some of those, the good guy looses.
But there’s another dynamic that doesn’t get talked about and is grossly underreported, and that’s the dynamic of what training the good guys and bad guys have had, if any. That’s where things really get interesting. You see, well-trained shooters, while not impervious to mistakes and failures, have a stunning success record in gunfights with garden variety criminals.
For example, Tom Givens of Rangemaster has had graduates of his firearms training classes involved in 66 gun fights. 63 of those confrontations were won by his students. None were lost by armed students. The only three times his students lost a confrontation was when they were unarmed. I’m aware of other shooting schools that keep a tally of gun fights reported to them by graduates, and the overwhelming majority of them report similar results.
Whether we’re talking combat with weapons or martial arts or sports, you’re going to see highly-trained people dominate poorly-trained or untrained people almost every time (not accounting for dumb luck and lucky hits).
In this incident at Dixie Gun and Pawn, the robbers had the advantages of surprise and numerical superiority. They still lost because Mr. Groover had solid training, good skills, and a plan that his mind automatically loaded and executed when the threat presented itself.
To paraphrase Gunsite founder Jeff Cooper, you aren’t any more armed by buying a gun than you are a musician because you bought a piano. To be any good, you’re going to need training, and you’re going to need to practice.