LAUDERDALE BY THE SEA, FL--Police say a Vietnam veteran sustained a gunshot wound while he tried to protect a sea turtle nest on a Florida beach.
"He said I'm gonna get you beeping sea turtle people," Doug Young explained.
According to the victim, those words were followed by an attack.
72-year-old Stanley Pannaman is a Vietnam vet and spoke just days after being shot and pistol whipped across the head with his own gun All this he says was over a sea turtle's nest.
"He started with his hand to throwing up the sand to trying to see if he could get to the eggs," said Pannaman.
Pannaman and his friend Doug Young were out Friday night with other volunteers The group separated as they were out helping hatchlings get to the water. Police say as the two waited along the Beach at Lauderdale by the Sea, Michael McAuliffe, approached them. Witnesses say McAuliffe reeked of alcohol and wouldn't back off so they had to act
"So I said, 'Mister, I'm armed this is a gun stop,;'" said Pannaman.
Pannaman put the gun away thinking that things were OK. but then the unthinkable happened. He says he was tackled to the ground then hit over and over. The next thing he saw was the barrel of his own gun pointed in his face. According to Pannaman, the bullet went into the left side and lodged in his backside.
"I'm also delighted that he shot me only once because there were 7 more rounds in the magazine," he explained.
His friends are just grateful they weren't killed and can keep helping the baby sea turtles into the water.
"We'll be even happier when were back to normal and were back on the beach," said Young.
Police say McAuliffe is behind bars and is facing multiple charges, including two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and weapon possession by a convicted felon