Florida man shot protecting sea turtle nests

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. (MEDIA GENERAL) – Not everyone loves animals. Some people even have a disdain for certain creatures. Michael McAuliffe, 38, of Florida, does not like turtles. He also doesn’t like people who like turtles.

McAuliffe was arrested late Friday, July 17, 2015, after a scuffle at Lauderdale-by-the-sea beach led to a not-quite-accidental shooting.

McAuliffe encountered two men, Stan Pannaman and South Florida Audubon Society president Doug Young, at approximately 11 p.m. Friday, according to the Sun-Sentinel. At the beach, McAuliffe allegedly yelled, “I hate sea turtle people. You’re all (expletive) crazy.” He then started pulling up stakes and pulling down tape marked to protect sea turtle nests, which Pannaman and Young were volunteering to protect.

While McAuliffe and Young started to tussle, Pannaman pulled out a handgun with hopes of diffusing the situation. Pannaman told the Sun-Sentinel that McAuliffe settled down when he saw the gun, so he put the gun back in his pocket, only to be tackled seconds later.

As the two men wrestled, McAuliffe ended up holding the pistol and pointing it Pannaman, stating, “I’m going to shoot you with your flare gun.”

“Sir, it’s not a flare gun. It’s a real gun,” Pannaman replied.

McAuliffe pulled the trigger, striking Pannaman in the hip.

“After he shot me, the guy looked like he was in shock,” Pannaman told the Sun-Sentinel. “He actually headed toward me and said, ‘How are you? Are you OK?’”
Pannaman replied, “Sir, you shot me. How could I be OK?”

The bullet ended up lodged in Pannaman’s left buttock. Doctors plan to surgically remove it once swelling goes down.

McAuliffe was jailed without bond on two charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and battery on a person 65 or older.
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.”

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