HOMESTEAD, Fla. -

A security officer at a Homestead apartment complex stumbled upon a startling sight while making his rounds early Thursday morning.

"I did not believe that this really was a gator on the property," Kevin Whitehurst told Local 10.

It was shortly after 4 a.m. when Whitehurt found the scaly trespasser roaming the property at the Monterey Pointe apartments.

"Immediately I thought, 'OK, this is not a burglar, but this is a gator,'" Whitehurst said.

Whitehurst grabbed his cellphone to call 911 and take video of the trapper wrangling the 8-foot, 6-inch gator that likely found its way inside the complex from the canal that runs alongside the property.

His concern was for the children who walk past the area every morning to catch the school bus. He thought "they wouldn't see the gator and walk up on it and maybe this gator would attack."

The trapper eventually tamed the alligator while most residents were still asleep.

Whitehurst said this was the highlight of his shift -- and perhaps even career.

"This would rank the biggest because this was a trespasser that I was in no way, shape or form going to actually confront," Whitehurst said. "I left that to the authorities who had the guns, the Tasers and the know-how."

Gators that long are not typically released back into the wild, so it is probably going to become a pair of boots.

When you see news happening, send your photos to share@local10.com.