WAYNE COUNTY, Ohio -- A couple of burglars pick the wrong place to break into.
A Wayne County sheriff's deputy, responding to an alarm early Wednesday morning at The American Legion Post outside Wooster, meets 76-year-old Don Bertsch, a Vietnam veteran, who is the financial officer for the post.
The two men search the building and eventually work their way up to the second floor where Bertsch, who has a conceal carry permit, encounters two men inside an office they have broken into.
"Came face to face with a guy in a ski mask and he hollered at me 'don't shoot' and tried to push the door shut and I could see another individual in there with them and I pulled my gun out," Bertsch said.
The suspects were not hit and got away. It turns out they had used heavy duty tools to pry open a large safe that holds, among other things, ten rifles belonging to the post. But, they left empty-handed thanks to Bertsch who says he acted on instinct.
"First off, the adrenaline is going like crazy and, you know, it's the flight or fight and my training or experience or whatever else you know is to fight."
The burglars had a good working knowledge of the building and thought they were cutting the wires to the security system, but it turns out the new system is wireless.
The sheriff's office is now trying to identify the suspects and is investigating whether Bertsch was justified in firing his weapon.
"At this point, the only person we have the ability to speak to is the person that fired the handgun, and his position was that he indeed was in fear for his life, and I guess we're going to have to take his word for that," said Captain Doug Hunter.
Bertsch says he has no regrets about his actions. "To me, don't break into any place; get a job," he said.