(WFLA, NBC NEWSCHANNEL ) Family and friends say they are shocked by the arrest of a 74-year-old Florida man after he shot an alligator.
Reginald Blanton shot the alligator when he spotted it approaching his horses.
Blanton contends he was just protecting his animals.
"I took my gun with me when I went out there because I didn't know what the hell was out there," he said.
Blanton's stepson, 58-year-old Jack Hildreth, then approached the alligator.
Hildreth says he couldn't see anything but teeth when the nearly 10-foot alligator suddenly lunged toward him.
"It was a burst of lighting like. It was just a surprise," Hildreth said.
It clamped down on Hildreth's leg, severely wounding him. A teenager pulled him to safety.
Arriving Sumter County deputies surrounded the animal, and a licensed trapper killed it, WFLA reported.
Blanton was later arrested for unlawfully killing the alligator.
Florida law says: no person shall buy, sell, take, possess, transport, or import any American alligator, except under permit.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commission that is why Blanton was charged
A judge will have to decide if he was allowed to shoot to protect his horses.
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