BUSHNELL, Fla. (WFLA) — Family and friends are shocked by the arrest of a 74-year-old Sumter County man after he shot and killed an alligator that attacked his stepson.
The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office reports Reginald Blanton shot the alligator twice with a handgun. He discovered his horses acting strangely and spotted the large gator near them. Blanton’s stepson, 58-year-old Jack Hildreth, then approached the alligator.
Blanton contends he was just protecting his horses. “I took my gun with me when I went out there because I didn’t know what the hell was out there,” he said.
When he saw the alligator just a few feet away from his horses, Blanton took his 9mm handgun and shot it. “I shot at him four times, and they said I hit him three,” he said. His stepson then arrived and got about eight feet away from the alligator when it suddenly attacked. “Whenever he raised up after my stepson, it looked like he was shot out of a cannon. I had never seen nothing like it,” Blanton said.
Hildreth says he couldn’t see anything but teeth. “It was a burst of lighting like. It was just a surprise,” Hildreth said.
He said he assumed the alligator was dead as he approached because it wasn’t moving. But it then grabbed him and gave him a severe leg wound. Hilfreth also suffered a fractured neck from the gator violently shaking him.
Upon arriving, Sumter County deputies surrounded the animal, and a licensed trapper killed it.
This is one of the craziest stories you’ll hear. Not only does it involve someone getting tossed around like a rag doll by a alligator. It has the added excitement of a handgun and jail time. Stuff like this can only happen in Florida.
What I can’t wrap my head around is what could possibly possess you to try to scare gator by getting within striking distance of it WHEN YOU HAVE A GUN IN YOUR HAND. It couldn’t be because you’re gun shy, you’ve already shot the dang thing multiple times.
I feel bad for the old man that had to sit in jail for a few hours. I feel worse for the guy that got bit. However, I do not feel bad for saying that the combined intelligence seen here couldn’t power a Lite-Brite .
No matter the level of stupidity, (or overall fishiness of this entire story) I’m still rooting for these guys. Primarily because I can’t help but think that this could easily be a couple of my family members…
“He was a big alligator,” Blanton said. “A great big, fat rascal.” -Best line of the whole story.