"I picked up a rock to hit [the alligator], it was a lower torso in his mouth. It just like swam backward down into the lower canal," a nearby resident said
Florida police said they are investigating the death of an individual whose body had been carried in the jaws of an alligator down a street and into a waterway.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said in a press release that officers had responded to a report of a dead body seen at a waterway located between 134th Avenue North and 121st Street North in Unincorporated Largo, Florida, at about 1:50 p.m.
Officers discovered the remains of a deceased adult in the waterway near a 13-foot, 8.5-inch male alligator, which was eventually “humanely killed and removed from the waterway” with the assistance of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said that it has initiated an investigation into the incident and that the medical examiner’s office will be conducting an autopsy on the body to determine how the person died. The person’s identity has not yet been released by police and no other details were released by the sheriff’s office.
A nearby resident, JaMarcus Bullard, had told Spectrum’s Bay News 9 that he had been on his way to a job interview when he saw the alligator carrying the deceased person in its jaws.
"I could tell there was a body in his mouth, so I started recording," Bullard said.
"I picked up a rock to hit it, it was a lower torso in his mouth. It just like swam backward down into the lower canal," he added, per Insider.
He told Bay News 9 that he immediately “came down to the fire department and reported” the incident to them, and they had put in the 911 call. Bullard said he witnessed emergency personnel pull the gator from the waterway and shoot it "a few times."
A view from a SkyFOX camera from Fox 13 Tampa Bay showed several police surrounding the large alligator, which had been situated between a pool of blood and a large black police car on the roadway at the scene.
The dead body had been found in a waterway located near Ridgecrest Park in Pinellas County, according to the outlet, which has a 5-acre lake and has been known for alligator sightings. According to Bay News 9, that is also near the location where a 47-year-old man had died in an alligator-related incident while looking for Frisbees and other discs in the water.
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"I would’ve never dreamt that an alligator would be in this area," Terri Williams told Fox 13 Tampa Bay. "Of course, I know there’s a lake across the street, and I know about the lake in Taylor Park, but not in this neighborhood. No, I would have never thought that."
American alligators are commonly found in freshwater lakes and slow-moving rivers and in brackish water habitats, but rarely in salt water, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
It noted that the largest male alligator spotted was a 14-foot 3 1/2-inch male from Lake Washington in Brevard County and that alligators primarily eat rough fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals and birds.
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