Suspect pulled from pond with alligators on Chatham Co. golf course

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 11:35 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2022 at 4:15 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A suspect is in custody after law enforcement had to jump in and pull him from a pond in the Al Henderson Golf Course community on Friday.

The Chatham County Police Department said it all started when a car that was reported stolen out of Savannah was spotted near I-95 and Highway 204. Georgia State Patrol tried to pull the driver over, but he took off.

The chase ended in the Henderson Golf community neighborhood when the driver ditched the car and took off on foot. Police say he went into several homes while trying to elude officers, and eventually cut through the tree line and out onto the golf course.

He was again spotted by police, but instead of going quietly, the man jumped into the pond. For about an hour, he swam around avoiding police, coming dangerously close to several alligators.

Police actually had to fire a bean bag round toward one of the gators to scare it away from the suspect, and eventually a helicopter was brought in to also push the alligators away from the man.

As the man paddled around the pond, police spotted a couple of alligators that started closing in on him.

“There were several alligators in the immediate area, some that came very close to the subject, to the point where it became very concerning that he may be attacked by an alligator,” CCPD Lt. Gene Harley said.

Instead of trying to swim away from the alligators, police say the man actually swam toward them.

“He was making statements that were clear that he had no intention of being taken into custody,” Lt. Harley said.

Police eventually got a watercraft into the pond and captured him as he was tiring out.

“Our amphibious vehicle was in there for anywhere from ten to 20 minutes. Finally, two officers, knowing that he was getting very worn out physically from all the swimming he was doing, actually jumped in the water and got him at that point. He then became compliant,” CCPD Lt. Gene Harley said.

A golfer nearby witnessed the chase and water rescue.

“A bunch of police flew by us and came and drove on the fairway, so that was a little shocking. He jumped into the pond and then they did their best to negotiate with him to get him out, and the helicopter came in, and we saw them take off with the drone. And then he just paddled around for the next 45 minutes or so,” Jacob Howell said.

The man has been identified as 29-year-old Billy Sloan. He is charged with auto theft by receiving stolen property, burglary, four counts of trespass, drug possession and obstruction by fleeing.

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