League City man, 79, disarms intruder with his bare hands


Ervin Brittnacher doesn't go looking for trouble, but he doesn't back down from it either. And early Monday morning, trouble came calling.

At the front door, police say was Charles Brian Smith, 38, accused of being high on bath salts. He tore the screen door off its hinges and made it inside the house, where Mr. Brittnacher was waiting, in his pajamas.

"I gave him a karate chop across the neck and the second one was on the jaw," Brittnacher recalled.

The result -- one would-be burglar was knocked out cold.

To understand how he overcame a man half his age, you have to know him. Ervin Brittnacher has a story. He rode bucking broncos and bulls in rodeos. He was a cowboy, and he once owned a honky tonk where he was also a bouncer. He took some lessons to heart from that.

"You can get run over real bad if you don't protect yourself," he said.

Monday morning's encounter could have turned out badly. Police say Smith was carrying a loaded rifle and when he was arrested, he was incoherent.

34:12 "During the time I was patting him down and checking his pockets, he kept asking if that was his dad's eyeball in his pocket," said Sgt. Tamara Spencer with the League City Police Department.

Smith remains in jail. Mr. Brittnacher is back to his routine on his farm, where he still bales hay. Just in case more trouble comes calling, he has a shotgun if his left hook doesn't do the job.

His children found out about the entire incident only when they read about it in the newspaper.

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