The Pinella County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of 134th Avenue North and 121st Street North in Largos after receiving reports of a body in a waterway on Friday afternoon.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, along with the sheriff’s office, “humanely killed” a 13-foot, 8.5-inch male alligator that was then removed from water.
Deputies with the sheriff’s dive team recovered the remains of an adult individual. The medical examiner’s office is expected to perform an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death in the following days. Officials said those results will help determine if the victim died due to the alligator attack.
Disturbing video of the reptile with the victim inside its mouth was recorded by bystanders. JaMarcus Bullard, who first alerted authorities, said that he was on his way to a job interview when he looked towards the lake and saw the horrifying scene.
“I could tell there was a body in his mouth, so I started recording,” Mr Bullard told Spectrum News 19.
“I came down to the fire department and reported it to them ... they came back and told us there was one bigger in the water. The helicopters caught the heat signals in the lake but they couldn’t do anything about that.”
The sheriff’s office said in a statement that the victim’s identity will be released to the public once the family is notified.
Jennifer Dean, who lives near to where the body was recovered, also told Spectrum News that she had previously seen alligators in the waterway — but none as large as this one.
“A lot of my neighbours were out here and they’re the ones that told me about the gator,” Ms Dean told the network. “While we were standing here we heard a shot, I assume they killed the gator.”
The waterway where the body was recovered is close to Taylor Lake, where a 47-year-old man was killed by a alligator last year. The man’s body was missing three limbs when it was pulled from the water.