You’re the man, Stan Pannaman!
Speaking to 7News while recovering in his home, 72-year-old Stanley Pannaman said he and his friend Doug Young, President of South Florida’s Audobon Society, were out with a group of volunteers along the beach to help hatchlings get into the water.
The volunteers said they told the man, later identified as 38-year-old Michael McAuliffe, to back off, but he wouldn’t listen. The reportedly drunken McAuliffe then took a swing at Young, 64, and began to pull up the stakes and tear down the yellow tape surrounding one of the turtles’ nests.
He thought the situation was defused, but instead told investigators McAuliffe grabbed his gun.
A Vietnam veteran who was shot while trying to save baby sea turtles has been released from the hospital. Pannaman turned quickly enough that the bullet hit him in the left hip, Young said.
“He was yelling that he hated turtles and the people who try to save them”, Pannaman said.
Pannaman said that his assailant then got down on one knee and asked him if he was “all right”. “I said, ‘Mister, I’m armed; this is a gun”.
Pannanman said an unprovoked McAuliffe started to rush him. “The guy freaked out when he saw the wound”, Young said.
McAuliffe has had several run-ins with the law, records show. The most recent of McAuliffe’s three felony convictions included two counts of battery on a person 65 or older. And in 2008, he was twice arrested on charges of criminal mischief. However, he stated that it is not a part of his group’s protocol for any volunteer to carry a gun. In each case, he pleaded no contest.
Pannaman also has a cut on his head from the alleged attack.
And he is grateful that he was not carrying the sidearm he normally packs: a Taurus.
Despite the experience Pannaman said he is not discouraged from protecting sea turtles, noting, “But really, monitoring sea turtle nests should not be a life-threatening experience”.