7-foot alligator wrangled at south Fort Myers middle school student drop-off

Published: August 24, 2022 11:26 AM EDT
Updated: August 25, 2022 12:13 AM EDT

A seven-foot alligator was wrangled during student drop-off at Lexington Middle School on Wednesday morning.

According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the alligator was seen as students began arriving at the middle school located at 16351 Summerlin Road ahead of the first bell.

This comes almost one year after a 60-year-old man was attacked in the same area, near Wa-Ke Hatchee Park, by an alligator.

In this instance, no one was hurt or in any danger.

Student Dylan Harell said, “I know there’s like a little pond somewhere over here. And I was like, Oh, that’s cool. I wanted to see it. I love gators.”

School resource officer and K9 handler Jennings, a former alligator trapper, took the lead in wrangling the reptile.

School officials said that quick action prevented any students from being in danger.

Dylans’s father, Daniel Harrell, said, “You know, they take care of their students on the property. So that’s a great thing … But he’s like any other preteen or teenager just wants to see, just wants to see what the gators are doing.”

SRO Jennings captures an alligator at Lexington Middle School, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office

Gator trapper Raymond Simmonsen Sr. said it’s a good opportunity to remind kids how to safely get away. “You don’t have to go totally insane on them … So make loud noises, make yourself larger, back up and put distance between you and them.”

The gator trapper also recommends not parking near water if at all possible. Sometimes gators like to hide underneath cars.

The alligator was taken by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which will relocate the animal to a safe area.