Officials identify Florida man killed in suspected gator attack

Man searching for frisbees in Florida lake killed in suspected gator attack

LARGO, Fla. – Officials have identified a man believed to have been killed by an alligator while searching for frisbees at a lake in the Tampa Bay area Tuesday.

Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS reports that police identified the victim as 47-year-old Sean Thomas McGuinness.

WFTS reports that someone walking their dog found McGuinness’ body at John S. Taylor Park in Largo Tuesday morning. The city is just south of Clearwater in Pinellas County.

While the medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death, police said “it was apparent that McGuinness suffered injuries related to alligators in the lake.”

Police believe the incident likely occurred at night, since McGuinness’ body did not appear to have been in the lake for long. Officials said he was known to frequent the park and enter the lake despite posted “No Swimming” signs.

WFTS reports that the park is equipped with a disc golf course and McGuinness, whose body was found within a few feet of a disc within the water, was known to resell discs to players.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said it captured two alligators from the lake, but necropsies revealed no signs the gators were involved with McGuinness’ death.

“Efforts are underway to monitor for additional alligators in the area,” the agency told WFTS.

According to the FWC, this is Florida’s first deadly alligator attack since 2019. Since the agency began tracking gator attacks in 1948, only 26 have turned deadly.

The 2019 attack was in Lee County, where a 31-year-old man was killed while trying to evade law enforcement by swimming across a Fort Myers retention pond, according to the agency.

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.