WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) - A 6-foot alligator invaded a Winter Haven neighborhood on the Fourth of July, much to the surprise of residents.
"I immediately ran in the house and yelled, 'There's a gator out here!'" recalled Verneka Ham, who was getting ready to buy food for a cookout when she saw the critter.
But a landscaper, who just happened to be working on the holiday, was more wary than amazed.
"I didn't want him to creep up behind me and spook me, so I was trying to get him to leave," said Lloyd McIntosh.
So he made noises at him, then threw the closest thing he could find -- a newspaper.
"He took a few steps and wasn't going anywhere," McIntosh told FOX 13. "He just got in the shade."
In the meantime, neighborhood kids had their own ideas. Akari Miller, who is 7, wanted to touch it. Nine-year-old Jron Ham had something else in mind.
"Keep it as a pet," he suggested to his mom. She didn't go for it.
In the meantime, McIntosh decided to go about his business across the street and ignore the gator. That became impossible when the gator crossed the street.
When police arrived, they put a noose around its neck and hauled it off in the back of a cruiser. A police spokeswoman tells FOX 13 they released it about two miles way, quite a distance from homes and any holiday parties that might be happening.
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