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Alligator bites off Florida man's forearm, Lakeland police say

Cops: Man jumped into lake to avoid police during psychological episode

File photo
File photo

LAKELAND, Fla. – An alligator bit off a Polk County man's forearm Wednesday night during a psychological episode in which he jumped into a lake to avoid being taken into custody.

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Lakeland police said they were called to a home on Long Lake Circle at 8:30 p.m. by a woman who said her 21-year-old son needed psychological help and was having an "episode."

The man ran into a wooded area behind their apartment and his mother said she wanted help getting him taken into custody under the Baker Act, according to police.

The Lakeland Police Department enlisted the help of the Polk County Sheriff's Office helicopter and K-9 to search the area.

At 9:52 p.m., PCSO's helicopter crew said they saw the man lying on the ground in the 5000 block of Long Lake Circle.

According to police, the man said he knew law enforcement was looking for him, so he swam back across the lake, which had a sign posted that read "Caution! Alligators frequent this area!"

The man was missing approximately three-fourths of his left forearm when authorities found him. He was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Center to be treated, according to police.

The man was also placed under the Baker Act and will face no criminal charges.

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was contacted and will investigate the incident.