Florida deputy rescues teen trapped in tree by massive alligator

Deputy took out 10-foot gator with single shot from AR-15 rifle

ASTOR, Fla. – A Florida teen lived to tell her terrifying tale of climbing up a tree to escape the jaws of an 11-foot alligator thanks to a Lake County Sheriff's Office deputy who took out the scaly giant with a single gunshot.

This only-in-Florida story happened Friday in Astor when the large alligator began approaching the 15-year-old Titusville girl floating on a raft in Freak Creek near Alexander Springs. She quickly reached the shoreline and climbed up a tree to safety. The persistent alligator refused to give up, staying at the base of the tree hissing, according to the incident report.

Wildlife experts say alligators do not normally eat humans because they are much too big. Hissing is something they do when confronted by a predator as a defensive behavior.

When a Lake County sheriff's deputy arrived, he immediately located the teen in distress by following her screams to the tree. The deputy estimated the alligator was 10 to 11 feet long.

The alligator was not scared off when the deputy started to approach the tree and instead it began to advance on him. The deputy fired a single round from his Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, killing the alligator, and then helped the teen down from the tree.