Florida Deputy Kills an Alligator Trapping a Teenage Girl in a Tree
LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA — July 3, 2018
A Florida sheriff's deputy shot and killed an alligator that had chased a teenage girl into a tree.
On Friday, 15-year-old Jordan Broderick of Titusville was on a raft in Freak Creek in the Ocala National Forest when she saw 10- to 11-foot alligator approaching. She was unable to reach the shoreline, but managed to grab onto a tree branch hanging over the water, narrowly escaping the alligator's jaws while her parents called for help.
"My daughter’s stuck in a frickin’ tree and there’s gators surrounding her!" her mother frantically cried out to the operator, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel. "Oh my God! Please hurry! Please hurry!"
Deputy Mike Blackmon arrived on the scene 30 minutes later, where he met the girl’s father, Mike Henderson, and learned that Jordan Broderick was not injured, but had to remain in the tree.
Blackmon recounted that miss Broderick was physically exhausted from holding herself aloft in the tree. He tried to scare the alligator off, but his efforts proved unsuccessful. According to News 6, the gator "began to advance" on the deputy as he approached. The officer responded by shooting and killing the gator in defense.
Miss Broderick was then helped down and taken to safety. No injuries have been reported.
The incident comes just weeks after Deputy Blackmon was honored for his bravery and given a LEO award for helping to rescue an elderly woman from the backseat of a van that was sinking in a frigid retention pond in late January.
Florida wildlife officials have said that gator attacks on humans are rare, but that people should always be cautious when around bodies of water which are potential habitats for alligators, especially if accompanied by pets or young children, or during mating season when the gators become more territorial and aggressive.
The incident comes less than a month after a woman was attacked and killed by an alligator while walking her two dogs in Plantation.