Jeff Piotrowski Almost Stabbed in Texas

David Hoadley

Stormtrack founder
Apr 19, 2006
113
15
11
Am having trouble opening this website. I click on the right arrow repeatedly but the video does not begin. The two bars appear that mean pause, then I click again and get the right arrow but no video.
 
Mar 8, 2015
27
32
1
Burlington, IA
I watched it once but now it says broadcast not found, you didn't miss much but did see the guy & he was asking for any attorney then Jeff drove up the road & got a sheriff & then followed him & then Jeff said he seen the guy getting apprehended & then he said he was getting outta there & left.
 
Oct 15, 2015
50
18
11
Calgary, Canada
Hopefully the Periscope video was saved, now that it is unavailable for viewing.

To add to what Chris said above, the guy with the knife was seen walking down the side of the highway in the dark holding his head, which prompted Piotrowski to turn around thinking the man needed immediate assistance. He seemed really out of it as he approached the driver's side window, mumbling rather incoherently in response to questions regarding his well being. Shortly after bizarrely requesting an attorney, you hear a brief struggle before Piotrowski speeds off, obviously rattled by what just happened. He said something to the effect of "in 35 years of chasing tornadoes this has never happened to me!" He stops and tells the first Sheriff he sees about what happened, stating that there was a man about a mile back who appeared to be of Hispanic origin that had grabbed him by the neck and tried to stab him in the chest. He then drives off and his emotions turn to anger, saying things like "I'm friggin' pissed off!" and "I pull over to help someone and this is how they respond!" and "If I had a gun, I would have shot him!" (not actual quotes, but paraphrases based off my recent memory).

His latest tweet says "I was attacked tonight I'm ok the guy was trying to kill me. I hurt my arms from fighting him off of me. I glad I'm alive."

https://twitter.com/Jeff_Piotrowski
 
Feb 9, 2007
259
33
11
35
Illinois
skywarnforum.com
Very glad he made it out okay. Sad times we live in... I used to pick up hitchhikers just to be a good guy... but you can't do that anymore. Now it is getting too dangerous to make sure someone on the side of the road isn't injured! At least he got away with what could had been a lot worse! Be safe out there folks, apparently, tornadoes are not the only threat!
 
  • Like
Reactions: John Olexa
May 18, 2012
292
151
11
Gaines, MI
If anything it helps to galvanize why I'm getting my CPL...primarily to protect myself and my property. We live and work near Flint, MI so having it and carrying where its legal is just smart. Agree with everything @Jason Boggs says above too. I'm not going to wait for something to happen before I act.
 
Oct 15, 2015
50
18
11
Calgary, Canada
From my perspective, this turns out to be another major difference between chasing in Canada and in the USA. Having chased here for several years, I haven't had a single moment where I thought my safety - due to another person - was at stake. Sure, gun laws are different here (we don't have anything like the Second Amendment; and people usually only own guns for hunting, not self-defense), but I also can't imagine being attacked by a random person like this in Canada, especially under these circumstances. I guess anything could theoretically happen anywhere, but this whole discussion is quite intriguing to me. If anything, the thought of chasing in the states in spring makes me slightly apprehensive, knowing so many people are armed...I wouldn't want to accidentally piss off the wrong person or something. The only people I see with guns holstered to their belts around here are cops!
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,573
2,260
21
St. Louis
stormhighway.com
Jeff's situation is a really rare one that I don't know how anyone could have seen coming. You might expect someone like that in a rough neighborhood, not wandering on a road near a tornado damage path. I guess the only takeaway you could glean from this one is to stay inside of your vehicle, and just get the heck out of there if you notice anything even slightly off about the person (how they respond to you, etc).
 
  • Like
Reactions: John Farley

Matt Petrulli

Gotta expect the unexpected. Ed course, I was watching live, didn't expect that at all. Seemed like the guy was probably on some type of drugs or is suffering from mental illness. I mean, it is Texas. A lot of crazy stuff happens in Texas.
 
Jul 16, 2013
229
119
11
Joplin, MO
Gotta expect the unexpected. Ed course, I was watching live, didn't expect that at all. Seemed like the guy was probably on some type of drugs or is suffering from mental illness. I mean, it is Texas. A lot of crazy stuff happens in Texas.
I'm not really familiar with what was going on in the video, where it was located or if that area was impacted. I'm going to go on the assumption that the area in particular where this happened was impacted shortly before by a tornado. If that is the case, then it is a probability that the guy experienced something that was very traumatic to him and caused behavior that was normal for him. I could be wrong, but I'm not going to be quick to conclude the guy was on drugs.
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
3,075
1,615
21
Broomfield, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
From my perspective, this turns out to be another major difference between chasing in Canada and in the USA. Having chased here for several years, I haven't had a single moment where I thought my safety - due to another person - was at stake. Sure, gun laws are different here (we don't have anything like the Second Amendment; and people usually only own guns for hunting, not self-defense), but I also can't imagine being attacked by a random person like this in Canada, especially under these circumstances. I guess anything could theoretically happen anywhere, but this whole discussion is quite intriguing to me. If anything, the thought of chasing in the states in spring makes me slightly apprehensive, knowing so many people are armed...I wouldn't want to accidentally piss off the wrong person or something. The only people I see with guns holstered to their belts around here are cops!
This was a pretty freak incident. Having chased in the USA since 2007, I also have yet to encounter a situation where I thought I needed any sort of weapon to feel safe.

In response to Steve's question, no, this does not change my mind about carrying a weapon while chasing. If anything, it strengthens my own pesonal argument in favor of staying away from an area that has been freshly damaged by a tornado (with exceptions for extremely improbable circumstances). I'll leave first responder duties to the police and EMTs who would be trained in how to handle fickle situations with people who may be injured and emotionally or mentally disturbed.
 

Scott Robart

Enthusiast
Dec 23, 2015
2
0
0
Missouri, USA
Odds are that you will never need a weapon while on a chase, but after a storm hits, if you encounter looters (which, thankfully, doesn't seem to happen that often), it's probably better to have it than not to have it. Your best bet is to try to avoid situations where you might need to be armed. I'm former law enforcement and I very strongly support the individual right to carry. Having a firearm can actually prevent situations where you could be harmed altogether, without you ever needing to unholster your weapon. The one caveat that I would say for chasers/spotters is make sure you have a place to lock it up in your car when you're outside your car filming or observing, if you're not carrying it on your person. A lockable glove box is a great place. If you do get pulled over and you have a weapon in your car, telling the officer about it should be the first thing you do when the officer approaches your vehicle. Put your hands on the steering wheel where they can be clearly seen and inform the officer that you have a firearm inside the vehicle. Usually they will ask where it's located, sometimes they will pull you out of the vehicle for their own safety. If you're open and honest about this type of stuff, you will very rarely have issues, as the overwhelming majority of LEOs support the individual's right to carry.

I took first responder courses a number of years ago and I think this is a wise thing for all chasers to do. Hopefully you'll never end up in a situation where you need to render first aid, but if you are, it's better to have the training and be able to do it properly. Local fire departments, ambulances and police departments regularly take these courses, and if you ask, they would probably let you join in, especially if they know you're a storm chaser or storm spotter. The Red Cross also offers courses throughout the year in most cities, usually for free or for a very low cost. 99% of it is common sense, but it still is worth having the certification, even if you never need it. Chasers are sometimes the first ones on the scene, even before police and EMT/fire, knowing this stuff could save a life and that's ultimately why we do what we do.
 
Jul 17, 2004
379
14
11
61
Piedmont, OK
Just seeing this video for the first time.. absolutely unbelievable but thank God, he's okay. I've known Jeff at least 25 years and consider him and his wife Kathryn good friends. It just goes to show the times we're living in. I plan on getting my CWP this year.. and also brushing up on my first aid skills.. long overdue.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jason Boggs
Sep 29, 2011
647
617
21
47
Fort Worth, TX
www.passiontwist.com
There have been several threads here about carrying of weapons, specifically guns. Does this change YOUR mind about carrying while chasing?
I can easily see how anyone who's comfortable with firearms would want to carry, but honestly I'm just not. I wasn't raised around guns, even though most of my friends had them growing up. I even had a 20-gauge when I was 14, but it was a surprise xmas gift that I didn't ask for. I used it some, because I felt obligated, mostly squeezing off Bluejays (because back then I hated those damn birds), but after a year or so the firing pin broke, and I just lost interest and never touched it again. Maybe because I've never needed one, is why I just don't like being around guns. A lot of it is I have major trust issues with anyone when it comes to being in possession of anything that could kill me with a trigger squeeze. Even people I've known 20 years, when they bring out a firearm, I get very uneasy. I grew up in a time when the worst thing to happen to you was you got your ass kicked, but you always came back to fight another day. Guns just seem, to me, to almost be inviting trouble. I know they don't in the hands of responsible owners, but that's just my twisted psyche.

Maybe if I found guns interesting, I might be more open to having one for self-defense. Until then, I'd rather just move to a better neighborhood. I don't feel like I have to have a gun, and I never want to.

Now as far as Jeff's incident, that's just another reason (though admittedly I never even imagined it before it happened to Jeff) I don't chase after dark, especially following a damaging tornado. I put more effort into avoiding tornado damage than I do finding tornadoes. I'm not trained in emergency services, and like guns, I'm just not comfortable purposely putting myself in situations that could expose us to that type of human trauma/drama. Storms and tornadoes provide all the drama we need; we've no interest in the aftermath.
 
Last edited:
Sep 7, 2013
576
404
21
Strasburg, CO
@Shane Adams ...if you ever find your way up to the denver area, feel free to shoot me a message and I'll take you out to my local range, if you're interested, and we can fire off some .22s. I shoot for fun only...I don't hunt, and hope to never need to use my guns to defend myself. For me it's a fun past time that I grew up with, so I understand your POV, but I love helping others get into it. My wife wasn't a shooter...now she giggles every time she double taps a pumpkin with her .22...and she's getting pretty good.

Offer is out there. If you're not interested, we can just grab a beer instead.
 
Sep 29, 2011
647
617
21
47
Fort Worth, TX
www.passiontwist.com
@Shane Adams ...if you ever find your way up to the denver area, feel free to shoot me a message and I'll take you out to my local range, if you're interested, and we can fire off some .22s. I shoot for fun only...I don't hunt, and hope to never need to use my guns to defend myself. For me it's a fun past time that I grew up with, so I understand your POV, but I love helping others get into it. My wife wasn't a shooter...now she giggles every time she double taps a pumpkin with her .22...and she's getting pretty good.

Offer is out there. If you're not interested, we can just grab a beer instead.
Appreciate the offer. You never know, maybe someday I'll be a bit more open to the idea. In the meantime, if I'm ever up your way, I'll take you up on that beer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Marc R. O'Leary

Bill Hark

EF5
Jan 13, 2004
1,270
190
11
52
Richmond Virginia
www.harkphoto.com
I was completely shocked by that incident. I think most chasers would stop to check on someone who appears injured near a tornado damage path. I usually keep my guard up while out chasing or doing other types of photography but I likely would have been distracted by the tornado damage and stopped to help without any thought about the possibility of being attacked. It wouldn't have crossed my mind until too late.

As for carrying a gun while chasing, I no problem with it. That's a personal decision but one must consider training, hassle factors and the potential of driving into an area with different laws concerning firearms. This is for another thread. With the speed of the attack on Jeff per viewing of the video, I doubt a gun would have helped him.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Steve Miller