Authorities say a 28-year-old Texas man was attacked and killed by an alligator “almost immediately” after being warned by a bystander not to swim in the water, replying “fuck that alligator” before jumping in, Buzzfeed reports.
“I asked him please do not go swimming, there’s a bigger alligator out here, just please stay out of the water,” an employee of Burkhart’s Marina in Orange, Texas told KFDM. “The next thing I know, I don’t even know how long it was, I saw his body floating face down and then he’s up there for a couple seconds and then he gets dragged back down and pulled off.”
But that didn’t deter [Tommie] Woodward, who showed up early Friday with a young woman, telling the staff closing the marina’s burger joint that he was jumping in. They begged him not to, but the 28-year-old did anyway and his friend followed. Suddenly, witnesses told police, a large alligator emerged from under the dock.
Sheriff’s deputies and park rangers found Woodward dead in the water more than two hours later at about 4:30 a.m. near the marina in the 1800 block of Mississippi Street. Orange Police Capt. Robert Enmon said he suffered major trauma to his left arm and puncture wounds to his upper left chest. The alligator attack, the second one in the region this week, is believed to be the first fatal encounter in Texas in at least two centuries.
“Whether it’s a speed limit sign on a freeway, a fireworks message, whatever, heed the warning sign,” Orange County Justice of the Peace Rodney Price said Friday, “follow that because a failure to heed that can result in a terrible tragedy for your family.”