St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Bill may put a stop to inmate drivers
  • Panther death offers hope
  • Man pounds 10-foot gator with rock to free child
  • 3 from Tampa are on panel to protect bases
  • Around the state: Big boom set in bomb test
  • Legislature: Bill alters law on autopsy photos
  • Bill puts limits on suits against some polluters
  • How many classrooms? 2,602, new data say
  • Nursing home showdown begins
  • Hurricane forecast gains 2 days
  • Cops to chat with Heimlich hoaxer
  • Family fights over boys who killed dad

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story
    Print story Subscribe to the Times

    Man pounds 10-foot gator with rock to free child

    ''I didn't know fear,'' the man said. He twice freed his nephew from the beast. The child escaped serious injury.

    ©Associated Press
    March 11, 2003

    CLEWISTON -- A 6-year-old boy playing near a canal was twice pulled from an alligator's jaws by his uncle, who had to bash the 10-foot reptile with a stone to free his nephew. The boy suffered minor injuries.

    The 325-pound alligator attacked Jesse Valdez as he and his brother played Saturday beside a lake near their home in southwestern Florida.

    Jesse's uncle, Ever Barjsquas, said he heard the boy's screams and charged forward to help him when he realized what was happening. He said he grabbed the child's arm and began tugging.

    "At that moment, I didn't know fear," Barjsquas told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I was desperately grabbing for him."

    Barjsquas, 25, of Avon Park, managed to free Jesse, but the gator immediately attacked again, grabbing the boy by his right shoulder and pulling him from his uncle's grasp.

    "When that happened, I didn't think I could do anything, but in that moment I grabbed him again," Barjsquas said. "I was hitting (the alligator) on the head, struggling."

    Barjsquas grabbed a stone and hit the alligator with it until Jesse was free.

    He estimated he fought with the gator for about two minutes.

    "I just don't want to think about what would have happened if I hadn't been there," he said.

    Jesse suffered puncture wounds to his right shoulder, right thigh and back and severe bruising to his chest and back, said Capt. David Stermen of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    He was treated for his injuries at a hospital and released Saturday.

    Barjsquas was bitten on the right hand during the struggle.

    The alligator was later trapped and killed.

    Stermen said residents in the trailer park near the canal likely were feeding the alligator.

    The alligator had heavy jowls, muscular legs and a big tail -- indicators it was well-nourished, Stermen said. And the alligator didn't hesitate to make a beeline for bait thrown out by a trapper, Stermen added.

    Officials will continue to investigate whether anyone in the trailer park fed the gator, which is a second-degree misdemeanor.

    Print story Subscribe to the Times

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk