The headline kind of writes itself, doesn't it?
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/cri...-protecting-sea-turtle-nest-article-1.2297065Florida man, 72, shot in buttocks by 'crazy' drunken man while protecting sea turtle habitat
BY Joel Landau
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sunday, July 19, 2015, 2:03 PM
Stan Pannaman, 72, was shot on the beach in Florida Friday night while guarding a sea turtle nest.
A 72-year-old former Marine who was shot while guarding a sea turtle nest in Florida with his own gun is recovering from the wound and does not regret bringing a loaded weapon to protect himself and the special habitat.
"I figured if I showed a handgun that would be enough to diffuse any situation," Stanley Pannaman, 72, told the Daily News. "People may be nuts but they aren't crazy. I didn't realize I would be dealing with a crazy guy."
The Vietnam veteran recounted a bizarre encounter on the beach Friday night with Michael Q. McAuliffe, 38, who Pannaman said had an odor of alcohol so pungent he could smell it 20 feet away. He also didn't realize the .32 caliber pistol Pannaman was holding was in fact a real gun and was shocked after he shot Pannaman with it.
The Tamarac resident, who grew up in Queens and raised his family in Bay Shore, Long Island before retiring to Florida in 2001, volunteers for a local group that sits by sea turtle nests on the beach and ensures they are not disturbed until the tiny baby turtles hatch and go to the ocean.
I didn't realize I would be dealing with a crazy guy.The nests are surrounded with sticks and tape and Pannaman makes sure no person or animal hurts the sea creatures. When they are born the tiny turtles may be drawn to the light from nearby cars or homes, so Pannaman will pick them up and bring them to the water.
The sea turtles are a protected species and it is illegal to mess with the nest. Pannaman, who was wounded while serving in the military and has carried a concealed firearm for his personal protection for 50 years, says he informs people unaware of the animals' perilous condition and "99.9 percent of the time" they leave the site alone.
But words were not enough to dissuade McAuliffe who cursed at Pannaman and his friend Doug Young, president of the South Florida Audubon Society, before they entered the beach at 10:20 p.m. Friday.
"He was sitting on a bench near the entrance and he said 'I hate sea turtle people, you f---ing bother me, get out of here,'" Pannaman said.
Michael Q. McAuliffe, 38, who Pannaman said had a strong odor of alcohol, took the senior citizen's gun from his pocket and shot him during an attack.
He and Young moved onto the beach and sat near the nest along with another man and his 12-year-old daughter.
But soon after McAuliffe walked up to the habitat and began removing the sticks and tape.
Pannaman said he began to inform McAuliffe he was breaking the law but the suspect then allegedly took a swing at Young.
That's when Pannaman removed a small .32 caliber Kel-Tec pistol from his pocket and showed it to McAuliffe hoping it would scare away the man he estimates weighs 260 pounds.
"I'm 72. I'm not getting into an altercation with anybody," he said. "I wanted him to see that I have a gun but I wasn't pointing it at him."
Pannaman then looked down to grab his cell phone and call police and McAuliffe took the opportunity to jump on the man with permanent damage to his feet and ankles and began punching him in the face. Young jumped onto the suspect in an attempt to help his friend but it didn't help.
That's when McAuliffe grabbed the gun from Pannaman's pocket and thinking it was a flare gun pointed it at the senior citizen's chest.
"He said 'I'll shoot you with the flare gun' and I said 'it's a real gun,'" Pannaman said. "He pointed it at my chest and in that split second I turned away from him so he would not be pointing (the gun) at my chest. If he fired into my chest I'd be a dead man."
The bullet entered the left side of Pannaman's body near his belly button and it traveled into his buttock. He was taken to a hospital and released Saturday. Pannaman, who also has Type 2 Diabetes, said it will be removed in four weeks when the inflammation subsides.
He asked me 'are you all right?' I looked at him and I said 'no, I'm not all right. You just shot me.'Authorities arrived shortly after the exchange but McAuliffe expressed shock after the shooting that it was in fact a real handgun.
"He asked me 'Are you all right?'" Pannaman said. "I looked at him and I said 'No, I'm not all right. You just shot me.'"
Pannaman said he never expected this type of incident to occur while guarding turtles but noted "In my experience, drunk people are uncontrollable and don't think properly." McAuliffe was also previously convicted for battery on a person over 65 years old, among other previous convictions.
He is now in Broward County jail for charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and battery on a person 65 or older.
Pannaman volunteers to sit near the sea turtle nests and makes sure no one bothers the animals.
Pannaman said he doesn't regret bring the gun and is just happy he didn't bring his normal Taurus .357 Magnum that would have caused him greater injuries.
"I figured I was going to the beach, I figured I could just carry the .32 caliber pistol," he said.