In one corner, we have a career criminal looking for a quick score by breaking into a home in Florida. In the other corner we have a homeowner who is a Vietnam veteran and knows his way around firearms. Guess who came out on top? Hint: it isn’t the bad guy.
According to the Citrus County Chronicle, 71-year-old Carmelo Marchese was asleep at his home in Lecanto when he was awoken by his dog, Daisy, barking furiously. Marchese grabbed his gun and went to investigate. He quickly realized somebody was trying to break in.
Marchese opened the door, only to be physically accosted by 36-year-old Joshua Scott Bernard. A brief struggle ensued over Marchese’s gun. That’s when Marchese opened fire.
Citrus County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene to find Bernard on the floor with a gunshot wound to his chest. He was transported to an area hospital, where he was treated and then sent to jail. He is now facing charges of burglary with battery and battery on a person older than age 65.
Bernard has a history of burglaries and had just been released from prison on an undisclosed charge.
Vietnam Veteran Comments
Marchese, who served in the Navy and did two tours in Vietnam, says he acted in the heat of the moment when he shot Bernard.
“Once he started to push me and grab my neck, I shot him. I wasn’t going to play. This isn’t a game, it was a life-and-death situation,” Marchese told Fox 13.
In addition, Marchese has no regrets about pulling the trigger.
“I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t feel bad. This guy was a bad guy. How many other people has he hurt? I don’t know but he’s off the street, that’s all that counts,” he said.
Marchese added that he “had warned [Bernard] prior. I did everything I was supposed to do. This is my house, not his.”
The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office has declined to press charges against Marchese for his actions that night.