Category Archive 'Alligator'
09 Sep 2018

“Not Funny”

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The late Tommie Woodward.

Buzzfeed reports that, just because Tommie Woodward ignored warnings and jumped into the bayou at 2 A.M., winding up killed by an alligator, his grieving family feels he should not have been made into a Darwin Awards national joke.

On the night of July 2, 2015, Tommie Woodward was doing what Tommie did on Thursday nights — shooting pool, playing shuffleboard, drinking beer, having a good time at Burkart’s Marina, a beer and burger joint in Orange, Texas. Sometime around 2 a.m. he decided to go for a swim in the murky waters of Adams Bayou.

Michelle Wright, the bartender on duty, became concerned upon hearing Tommie’s plans. A few weeks earlier, the bar’s owner, Allen Burkart, spotted an exceptionally large alligator patrolling the bayou. He immediately erected a “No Swimming” sign, which was disregarded. The people of Orange frequently swam with the reptiles, and even nicknamed two of them Cheeto and Marshmallow. Wright pleaded with Tommie, but he was stubborn, never backed down from anyone or anything. He was going swimming. Wright returned to her bartending duties.

Tommie removed his shirt and billfold and, joined by his companion Victoria LeBlanc, tiptoed toward the water. At this point LeBlanc saw a big gator — maybe the same animal Burkart had encountered — emerge from beneath the dock. She alerted Tommie to its presence, who shouted back, “Fuck that gator!” and plunged into the bayou.

Tommie was near a small island across the swamp when the gator got his arm. When LeBlanc jumped into the water to save him, he yelled for her to return to land. She obliged, then frantically ran inside for help. After dialing 911, Wright grabbed a flashlight, killed the lights to reduce the glare, and scanned the water for him. After five minutes or so — she’s unsure — Wright found him facedown near the pier. The gator quickly pulled Tommie under again. He resurfaced about 20 yards downstream, before disappearing into the darkness.

Two hours later Tommie’s body was found with the left arm missing from the elbow down. His cause of death was drowning.

Tommie Woodward was the first person to die from an alligator attack in Texas since 1836. Shortly after the start of the Runaway Scrape, the mass evacuation of Texans fleeing Santa Anna’s army during the Texas Revolution, an alligator killed a man identified as Mr. King in a bayou near the present-day Harris County border. Mr. King was leading his horses across water when an alligator thumped him with its tail and dragged him under. Luckily for Mr. King — and his friends and family — his death occurred before the advent of television and social media.

News of Tommie Woodward’s death went viral with articles on, among other places, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, Fox News, and Gawker; the Associated Press picked up the story; it led the local TV news, of course. The local Beaumont Enterprise published a cautionary op-ed. The comment sections were busy and typically unsympathetic. The particulars — an animal attack, his famous last words, according to the police report — provided irresistible content.

Some outlets used an image from Tommie’s Facebook page of him chugging a Miller High Life while wearing a T-shirt that reads “Classy Motherfucker”; a news anchor for KFDM, the CBS affiliate in nearby Beaumont, breathlessly noted “the hundreds and thousands of pageviews and hundreds of comments” that the story generated on its website. Another circulated photo portrayed Tommie as the epitome of dudedom: grungy reddish-blonde chin strap beard, middle finger up, wearing a goofy cowboy hat, wraparound Guy Fieri shades, and a “This Guy Needs a Beer” shirt. On Facebook, strangers littered Tommie’s wall with comments like “lol rip dumbass” and “What. A. Dumb. Fuck.” A controversial hunt for the killer gator ensued, which only compounded the attention.

Tommie’s friends and family refuse to allow his final actions define the 28 years that preceded it. He loved Van Halen, Marilyn Monroe, and Ken Griffey Jr. He was good with his hands. He enjoyed assembling computers, building sandcastles with his nephew, fishing, swimming, camping, and grilling. He had an adoring big sister, a mom, a best friend, and an identical twin brother, Brian, all left to wrestle not just with grief over a freak tragedy, but also the aftermath of public humiliation. “I was severely pissed off at a lot of people that I’ve never met before,” his sister, Tabatha, says. “I was mad at everybody.”

RTWT

07 Jun 2018

But Why is the Gator in Charge?

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17 Sep 2017

“Clown Was Delicious”

19 Apr 2017

Gator Takes Up Residence on SC Second-Floor Porch

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Post and Courier:

Susie Polston had fallen asleep watching “Friends” on television. She woke in the late night to a loud intruder on the porch outside her Mount Pleasant home.

“Somebody’s trying to break into the house,” she told her family. They secluded themselves in the master bedroom and called 911. But then the racket quit. Ben Polston, 16, her son, snuck a look and started yelling, “Oh my God, I found it! I found it!”

He’d found it all right. In the early hours of Easter, a nearly 10-foot alligator had clambered up the back stairwell to the second story porch of their home, crunched through the aluminum screen door and made itself at home between the sofa and a swinging bench. It lay there like a plastic prank, but when they rapped on the window glass, it lifted its head.

RTWT

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

13 Apr 2017

Third Wheel Joins Couple in Pool Having Romantic Swim

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04 Mar 2017

A Good Day Fishing

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16 Jan 2017

Circle B Bar Reserve, Polk County, Florida

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Yesterday, an estimated 12-footer.

16 Jul 2016

We’re Hungry!

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Gators

17 Jun 2016

Kuntzman Bleats Again

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Kuntzman
Gersh Kuntzman

The New York Daily News’ great mind, the same Gersh Kuntzman who recently suffered from PTSD as the result of test firing an AR-15, waxes indignant over the demise of alligators from the Disneyworld lagoon, who were dispatched by the local authorities in the aftermath of one of them killing a visiting two-year-old.

Did something just go wrong? Well, kill all the animals!

That remains the standard stupid human reaction whenever our control of nature goes awry.

Like on Tuesday night after a 2-year-old was apparently eaten by an alligator on an artificial beach near Disney World. The response? Local officials killed four gators.

No disrespect to the suffering family, but let me get this straight: We built a man-made ecosystem in the natural environment of a known predator, stocked it with fish for our amusement, built a hotel with a beach on its banks, let kids wade into the water, express shock when one gets eaten — and then we kill the animal for doing exactly what animals do?

Obviously, in Kutzman’s twisted worldview, Barack Obama ought to be conducting an apology tour of the Everglades, expressing America’s regret to saurians for imperialist occupation of their swamps and deploring the species-ist view that human life is more valuable than reptilian dining.

15 Jun 2016

Alligator Takes Two-Year-Old at Disney World Lagoon

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DisneyLagoon
Man-made lagoon at Disney World where a two-year-old boy was dragged into by an alligator yesterday.

New York Post:

The 2-year-old boy who was dragged by an alligator on the shores of Disney’s upscale Grand Floridian Resort & Spa remained missing early Wednesday — as authorities continued their desperate search for the tragic tot.

Jeff Williamson of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said additional personnel would be deployed to assist in the search-and-rescue operation.

“Right now we’re going to bring in some fresh eyes and continue with the search,” Williamson said, the Orlando Sentinel reported. “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.”

The boy, who was vacationing with his family of five from Nebraska, was on the shoreline of the Seven Seas Lagoon on Tuesday night when the gator — estimated to be between 4 and 7 feet long — attacked him.

His dad tried to pry him loose from the animal but was unable to, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.

“As a father, as a grandfather, we’re going to hope for the best in these circumstances, but based on my 35 years of law enforcement experience, we know we have some challenges ahead of us,” Demings said, the paper reported.

Whole thing.

12 Jun 2016

Alligator Captured Near Allentown, PA

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LehighGator

Morning Call:

Allentown police confirmed local officials corralled an alligator around 7 p.m. Friday after hours tracking it through the Lehigh Canal. On Saturday morning, the reptile was on its way to a preserve in the Poconos.

Travis Benitez, 18, spotted the 31/2-foot gator while fishing in the canal. The teen said he’s been fishing in the canal since he was 7 years old and “never saw anything like that in my life.”

The gator prompted lots of activity. Police got a call around noon. City officials called for assistance from reptile and wildlife experts and tried to get the alligator to the bank. Keith Galvin of Galvin Wildlife Control of the Lehigh Valley tried to hook the alligator, which he says is a humane way to get the reptile out of the water.

“It won’t hurt him, he has alligator skin,” he said as he tried to capture the gator.

The rescue operation proved to be challenging because of the dense seaweed-like grass lining the water. Also, the alligator blended in with the canal with only its eyes rising above the water.

When a fisherman spotted an alligator in the Lehigh Canal in Allentown earlier this month, it made for a few tense hours as authorities tried to corral the carnivore. Keith E. Galvin Sr., of Galvin Wildlife Control in Upper Macungie Township, eventually was successful in hooking the gator and then turned it over to a reptile preserve in the Poconos.

A plastic crate, typically used to carry a large dog, was ready for the gator once it was corralled.

While Allentown won’t be confused for the Florida Everglades, there have been alligators captured in the waters of the Queen City in the past.

In September 2009, Allentown police, a city fire marshal and animal control officers captured a 6-foot alligator — believed to be the biggest ever found in the Lehigh Valley — sunning itself on the bank of the Jordan Creek

In the Spring of last year, an alligator was sighted in the Monongahela River in Western Pennsylvania.

04 Jun 2016

Giant Alligator: Second Video Sighting

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31 May 2016

“Stand Next to Him For Perspective!”

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Palmetto Golf Course, Plametto, Florida, posted May 30. Estimated length: 14-15 feet.

09 Dec 2015

Florida Crime Fighter Euthanized By Ungrateful Police

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Riggins
the late 22-year-old burglar Matthew Riggins

Fox News:

A suspected burglar jumped in a Florida lake apparently hiding from law enforcement before an 11-foot alligator killed him, investigators said Monday. His hand and foot reportedly turned up inside the animal’s stomach.

Brevard County Sheriff’s Maj. Tod Goodyear says 22-year-old Matthew Riggins told his girlfriend he would be in Barefoot Bay to commit burglaries with another suspect. Authorities received calls Nov. 13 about two suspicious men in black walking behind homes and investigated. Riggins was reported missing the next day.

Goodyear said sheriff’s divers recovered Riggins’ body 10 days later in a nearby lake, and that the injuries suggested the alligator had pulled him below the surface. “He hid in the wrong place,” resident Laura Farris told Bay News 9.

Authorities said Riggins drowned and the alligator, which behaved aggressively toward divers, was trapped and euthanized.

AlligatorAteRiggins
the late 11-foot (3.35 m.) alligator resident of Barefoot Bay who ate him.

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