ST. PETERSBURG — A 65-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after deputies said he beat a 3-foot alligator with a shovel.
David William Healey said he did it to protect others from the alligator, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
The alligator got away, deputies said.
Healey, 65, faces a charge of illegally killing, possessing or capturing an alligator.
Deputies said Healey told them he used fishing line and raw chicken to lure the gator out of a small pond area at the KOA Campground at 5400 95th St. N. Witnesses said he repeatedly struck the reptile with the shovel, according to the Sheriff's Office, and dragged it out of the pond.
Healey ended up released the alligator and it swam away into a larger body of water, deputies said. He was booked into the Pinellas County jail, where he was being held Thursday in lieu of $2,000 bail.