A Florida deputy used his Bushmaster AR-15 rifle to kill an alligator that waited patiently for a teenage girl trapped in a tree for nearly an hour late last week.
The Sun-Sentinel reports that 15-year-old Jordan Broderick was floating on a raft in a creek near the Alexander Springs Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest on Friday, about 55 miles north of Orlando, when an alligator suddenly approached.
Broderick quickly grabbed a branch hanging over the water and climbed onto a tree. The alligator followed her and waited at the tree’s base while she hung from the branch.
At around 3 p.m. that day, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office got a call from a man named Michael Henderson, who reported that his daughter was trapped in a tree near a boat ramp due to a 10-foot alligator that had been “hissing” at her from below for over half an hour. Jordan’s mother also placed a call to 911.
“My daughter’s stuck in a frickin’ tree and there’s gators surrounding her. We can’t get her out. She’s just 15!” her mother said to the 911 dispatcher. “Oh my God! Please hurry! Please hurry!”
Florida Deputy Shoots Alligator
Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Mitch Blackmon arrived on the scene ahead of a marine unit. According to Blackmon’s incident reported cited by the Washington Post, the alligator was about four feet from Blackmon, and three feet from the base of the tree. The alligator was unfazed by Blackmon’s presence. In fact, it got closer to Blackmon. That’s when Blackmon discharged his duty rifle.
“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 AR15 killing the alligator,” Blackmon wrote in his report.
The alligator went underwater after being shot. Fred Jones, a spokesman for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed that its body was found later that day with a gunshot wound to the head.
Broderick was able to climb down from the tree safely.
Jones said the alligator was female. He also said there was a nest near where the incident occurred.
Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens spokesman Ron Magill told the Post that female alligators are extremely territorial in the summer season until September. He also said that, while alligators usually avoid human contract, they’ll become aggressive when people get near them.
“I’ve seen alligators fight almost to the death to protect the nest,” Magill said.