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Police identify man who died after being bitten by alligator in Florida

It's believed 47-year-old Sean McGuinness entered Taylor Lake looking for Frisbees when he was attacked by an alligator that hasn't yet been found.

LARGO, Fla. — A man looking for Frisbees in a lake at a Pinellas County park died after being bitten by an alligator, according to authorities.

Emergency crews say it happened Tuesday at John S. Taylor Park, located at 1100 8th Ave. SW. in Largo.

Detectives with the Largo Police Department believe the man, since identified as 47-year-old Sean McGuinness, entered the water looking for the plastic discs before he died. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed McGuinness was bitten by a gator.

Largo police said they believe the man died "in the nighttime hours" as he did not appear to have been in the lake for a long period of time when his body was discovered Tuesday morning. A person walking their dog found McGuinness' body along the lake's shoreline, according to the department.

Citing park management, officers said McGuinness was known to frequent the park and enter the lake with disregard to the "no swimming" signs. He was also known to sell discs back to people within the park where there was a disc golf course.

The FWC in an update Wednesday afternoon said two alligators — 10-foot and 8-foot animals — were captured. After they were euthanized, an initial necropsy found "no evidence of their involvement with the deceased."

Work is ongoing to monitor additional alligators in the area, FWC said.

In a statement before the captures, FWC spokesperson Forest Rothchild said authorities would work to determine if the gator was connected.

"Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased," Rothchild added.

In June 2020, a man was bitten in the face by an alligator while in waist-deep water in Taylor Lake near the disc golf course. He received severe cuts to his hand and face, FWC officers said at the time.

These incidents have occurred during the alligator mating season, which runs from late spring through early summer. This is about the time when the animals are their most active.

The FWC says people should never feed alligators and keep their distance if they see one. People can also stay safe by only swimming in designated swimming areas and keeping pets away from the water. 

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