Published: May 15, 2014 12:32 PM EDT

PLANT CITY, Fla. (AP) - Tampa Bay-area authorities say they shot an alligator that threatened to disturb a dead body awaiting a coroner.
    
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says a park ranger discovered the dead man's body Wednesday evening near the lakeshore in Edward Medard Park.
    
Sheriff's spokeswoman Cristal Bermudez Nunez says the body was partially in the water near a tackle box and fishing pole.
    
While awaiting the medical examiner, deputies noticed an alligator circling in front of the body. Then it began swimming directly toward the body.
    
Bermudez Nunez says a deputy fired at the gator so it would not disturb the body. The alligator was struck in the skull, and it sank beneath the surface and was not seen again. Wildlife officials were notified.
    
An autopsy for the dead body is pending.

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