Beach goers outraged after 10-foot gator shot, killed on beach


FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- A 10-foot gator gave beach goers on Folly Beach something to look at Wednesday afternoon.

The gator washed up on shore around 3 p.m.

A contractor from the Department of Natural Resources went to the scene near 5th and 6th streets and pushed the crowd away before shooting the alligator with a pistol.

People who were on the beach at the time said they were upset the alligator was killed in front of families and children. Mike Reynolds was one of those people who had to shield his kids' eyes from the killing of the 10-foot gator.

Reynolds said there was a crowd gathering nearby to look at the huge animal and there were officials trying to capture it. But then another man showed up and shot the alligator.

Ray Covington with the Nuisance Wildlife Removal Service, the same man who spent time hunting for a Gaboon viper and shot another gator that had moved into land by a North Charleston library, shot the alligator.

"Within five seconds of the guy getting here, he just pulled out his 9-millimeter and shot him," he said.

After Covington shot the gator, some of the people on the beach questioned him about it, asking him why he would shoot an animal in front of several children. Covington said the gator's eyes were turning white and looked as though it would not live, so he decided to kill it.

Reynolds said no one seemed afraid of the alligator, but stood there in amazement.

"Everyone was amazed to see an alligator that big on the beach," he said, adding that he had never seen anything like that in all his years on the beach.

But Reynolds was also critical of Covington.

"You could tell. He couldn't wait to pull out his 9-millimeter and shoot that thing," he said.

Reynolds said he's already had to field questions from his kids about why the alligator had to be killed.

"I'm sure I'll get more questions on the ride home," he said.

The gator was taken away by Covington.

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