Harrison County

Angry gator stops traffic in Gulfport

GULFPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT 
 Police say this alligator didn't want to get off a city street on Tuesday. It started to cross East Railroad Street but decided to stop.
GULFPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT Police say this alligator didn't want to get off a city street on Tuesday. It started to cross East Railroad Street but decided to stop.

GULFPORT -- An angry alligator stood his ground Tuesday on a city street when a passerby and police tried to immobilize him until a wildlife officer arrived.

Sgt. Damon McDaniel was driving on East Railroad Street, just east of Oak Avenue, when he saw an obstruction in the road.

"It looked like a huge piece of wood partially blocking the road," said McDaniel, public information officer for the Gulfport Police Department.

Then, he said, "Oh, my God. It's an alligator."

McDaniel turned around to block traffic and called for backup.

It wasn't a large alligator -- about 4 feet or slightly longer -- and appeared to be northbound, though it didn't want to get out of the street. And soon showed its temper.

"An alligator in a neighborhood usually freaks everybody out," McDaniel said.

A motorist stopped and decided to help.

"His wife was screaming from the car, 'Grab him, Honey,'" McDaniel said.

The man pulled the gator's tail.

"That joker (alligator) turned around and started hissing at him."

The man decided to leave, McDaniel said, and other police officers soon arrived.

McDaniel tweeted a picture of the alligator and said, "Well well well. Who's going to try catching the alligator? Definitely not me."

Some of the officers tried to pull the gator's tail to change its direction and get it off the street. The angry gator turned around and hissed at them, too.

"It had a loud hiss like the sound of an open gas line," McDaniel said.

"By then it was mad. Furious. He was an angry gator. A double A."

Police allowed traffic to resume once the alligator reached a grassy area.

A wildlife officer arrived and immobilized the gator, which was taken to an area closer to its natural habitat.

"We don't kill them," McDaniel said.

"This one, we couldn't figure out where it came from. There's no swamps or bayous nearby."

The gator was about a half mile from the beach, just north of Centennial Plaza and near residential areas. The nearest large body of water, Brickyard Bayou, is about three miles to the north.

It's not uncommon for police to get calls about alligators, especially from the College Park area, along Switzer Road and James Hill Park off Bayou Bernard.

In one alligator sighting in College Park, an animal control officer used a catch pole to get the reptile out of a small body of water.

"One officer was brave enough to jump on him so we were able to tape his mouth and feet so it wouldn't hurt anybody until it got taken somewhere else," McDaniel said.

Scott Berry has his heart set on finding the 14-foot "monster" alligator he hooked two years ago and got away. After leading two first-time alligator hunters to Mississippi state records in 2014, its Berry's turn to find the "king of the swamp."

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