Gator shot after biting cadet's hand during training exercise in Tavares

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TAVARES, Fla. —

A law enforcement cadet was bitten by an alligator Tuesday during a training session at the Lake Tech Institute of Public Safety In Tavares, authorities said.

The incident happened near the Lake Tech Institute of Public Safety on Lane Park Cutoff in Tavares, where the Sheriff's Office holds its training.

Lt. John Herrell of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said cadets were training with Florida Fish and Wildlife officials on how to handle the reptiles when the 4-foot gator bit down on the cadet's hand.

"This unfortunate incident was due to the carelessness of one of the participants, who luckily was not severely injured," said Don Anthony of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. "While officials are often too quick to kill gators in almost any situation, perhaps it's good that cadets are learning nonlethal ways to diffuse a situation involving alligators. ​"

Officials said the student tripped while approaching the gator, which is when the gator turned and chomped down on his hand.

"He tripped on his way down.  At that point, the alligator turned, snapped his finger and clamped down on his hand and would not let go," said Herrell.

A FWC instructor shot the gator after it refused to let the cadet's hand go.

"He had no other choice at that point but to shoot the alligator so that it would let go and not cause further damage," said Herrell.

The victim's injuries did not appear to be severe.

"He went to the hospital to get treated," Herrell said.

WFTV found out that Lake County deputies respond to calls about alligators, and trappers only come out if gator is bigger than five feet.