A Florida deputy used his AR-15 to sink a menacing gator that had trapped a teenage girl in a tree and then started to approach him during his rescue efforts Friday, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Jordan Broderick, 15, was unharmed after some harrowing moments when an alligator approached the girl while she was floating in a raft in a creek near Alexander Spring Park in the Ocala National Forest, some 55 miles north of Orlando, the newspaper said.
Broderick grabbed a branch of the tree hanging over the water to escape, but the determined alligator sat at the base of the tree, continuing to hiss at the girl while her father, Michael Henderson, of Titusville, Florida, and other family members watched, the Sentinel said.
"My daughter's stuck in a frickin' tree and there's gators surrounding her," Broderick's mother said in a 911 call, the newspaper said. "Oh my God! Please hurry! Please hurry!"
Lake County Sheriff Deputy Mitch Blackmon first tried to scare the alligator away when he arrived to find the teen getting tired of hanging on to the branch, but that did not work, the Sentinel said.
"My presence failed to scare the alligator away, and it began encroaching on my area at which time I fired one single 223 round from my Bushmaster AR-15 killing the alligator," Blackmon wrote in his report, according to the newspaper.
The Sentinel wrote that the gator sank into the water and did not return. A Lake County marine biologist confirmed to authorities that the alligator had died, the newspaper wrote.
Orlando Weekly wrote that such aggressive behavior from Florida alligators is not unusual, particularly during mating season around May and June.
Unfortunately, not all Florida alligator stories have happy endings. Just last month, Shizuka Matsuki, 47, died after a 12-foot alligator grabbed her while she was walking her dogs at Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park in Davie, Florida. Her severed arm was found inside the stomach of a captured alligator at the lake, authorities said.
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