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Posted by jason harlow on April 23, 2003 at 15:37:33:
Swimmer, Her Rescuer Saved By Officer As Gators Approach
By STEPHEN THOMPSON firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Apr 22, 2003
ST. PETERSBURG - Denise Glass, who later told police she had been drinking, decided it would be quicker swimming across a lake Sunday evening than walking around it.
And so the St. Petersburg woman set in motion a bizarre sequence of events involving a would-be rescuer who went into cardiac arrest, a police officer and a couple of alligators.
After Glass, 40, jumped into the lake, north of Edward White Hospital at 13th Avenue North, a man jumped in to save her, St. Petersburg police spokesman George Kajtsa said.
At the time, the woman was flailing her arms, although it was unclear whether she was tiring in the water or had become scared of alligators swimming in her direction, Kajtsa said. Bystanders had gathered on the shore and were yelling to her to swim back to get away from the reptiles, Kajtsa said.
After the good Samaritan, identified by police as Allyn Allen, 41, entered the water, St. Petersburg police Officer Randy Bricker arrived and told Allen, through the public- address system in his squad car, to return, Kajtsa said.
When Allen reached Glass, he was pushed under water as she struggled with him. Meanwhile, Bricker saw the alligators heading toward the pair, Kajtsa said. Bricker shot six times at the reptiles, but it was unknown whether he hit any of them, Kajtsa said.
Then Bricker took off his gun belt, jumped in the water, and towed them ashore. Kajtsa said the officer is credited with saving their lives, although Allen went into cardiac arrest during his failed attempt to rescue Glass and was unconscious when he reached shore.
Allen was in critical condition at Edward White Hospital on Monday, a hospital spokesman said.
Bricker, who has had a couple of heart attacks and who underwent a coronary bypass, was checked out at the hospital and is OK, Kajtsa said.
As for Glass, she was arrested on charges of swimming in a lake, which is a violation of a city ordinance, and carrying a concealed weapon, a box cutter.
At least one alligator was removed from the lake Sunday by state wildlife officials.
Reporter Stephen Thompson can be reached at (727) 823-3303.