Man who killed alligator involved in deadly Orange attack will not be charged

ORANGE, TX (KTRK) -- The man who killed an alligator involved in the deadly attack of a Missouri man in Orange, Texas, will not be charged, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife officials.

Texas game wardens say they have completed their investigation into an alligator attack that resulted in the death of Tommie Woodard, 28, of St. Louis, Missouri. Investigators say that the "unprecedented circumstances of the case...warrant no further action."

The alligator suspected of attacking Woodard was killed by a man who told investigators he acted out of concern for the safety of his family and others. Game wardens issued a warning citation to the individual for the illegal take of the alligator; his identity is being withheld since no criminal charges were filed.

But ABC-13 Eyewitness News' Pooja Lodhia spoke to the man who says he killed the alligator. Kent Robnett says he trapped the 11 foot, six inch gator himself, then shot it in the head.

"I knew I was breaking the law," he said.

Colonel Craig Hunter, Law Enforcement Director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said in a statement released today, "This was a truly horrific tragedy that unfortunately became compounded by the actions of an individual who felt compelled to take matters into his own hands for the safety of his family and others."

The alligator carcass was dropped at the marina boat ramp on Monday near where the attack happened days earlier. An examination of the gator confirmed it to be the animal responsible for the attack on Woodard.

The man could have been charged with a misdemeanor for the illegal harvest of the alligator, which carries a maximum fine of $500.

Hunter said via press release, "In no way do we condone the killing of a nuisance alligator without proper authority. Either Texas game wardens or a licensed nuisance alligator hunter would have been more appropriate to handle the situation. Either way, because of its aggressive behavior, the alligator would have to be killed. If there is a positive that can come out of this case, it's an educational opportunity for us to reinforce to the public not to feed or disturb alligators and that there are proper procedures for handling nuisance alligators."
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