LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — A Lake County teenager was chased up a tree by an aggressive alligator that ultimately had to be shot and killed by a deputy, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
A deputy was called to a home on Forest Service Road 18 in Astor on Friday after the teenager's mother called 911 saying her 15-year-old daughter was, “trapped in a tree by a large gator,” according to a report.
"My daughter is stuck in a tree. There's a gator surrounding her. We can't get her out," she told the dispatcher. "She got in the tree to get out of the water. The gator is on land and in the water right under her."
The girl's father, Mike Henderson, told the deputy his daughter had been in the tree for 30 minutes and there was a 10-to 11-foot alligator at the base of tree keeping her from climbing down.
The tree overhung a creek in a swimming area near Alligator Springs. The teen was on a raft when the gator approached her. She said climbing up the tree was her only means to safety once the gator began to get near her.
The report said the girl was up in the tree screaming. As the deputy tried to get a better look, he heard a hissing sound and saw the alligator in the water at the base of the tree.
Deputies said the Lake County Marine Units were still about 20 minutes away and the girl couldn't hang on to the tree much longer.
According to a report, the deputy was about 4 feet from the alligator and was hoping his presence would scare it away, but instead, the alligator got closer.
The deputy fired one single 223 round from a Bushmaster AR15, killing the alligator.
Lake County marine biologists came to the scene to search for the alligator’s body.
No one was injured.
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