HomeOutdoorsNewsFlorida Man Facing Charges After Allegedly Beating Shark With Hammer

Florida Man Facing Charges After Allegedly Beating Shark With Hammer

by Caitlin Berard
Lemon Shark, Species Suspected to Have Suffered Florida Man's Attack
(Photo by uwimages via Getty Images)

A Florida man caught on video allegedly beating a shark to death with a hammer before pushing it back into the ocean last year will face charges for his actions, authorities said Tuesday.

According to the Florida attorney’s office, Brian Waddill, the man behind the brutal attack, is being charged with violation of restrictions on possession of prohibited species, failure to return prohibited species unharmed, violation of the prohibition against harvest, and the landing or sale of sharks. Each of these charges is a misdemeanor.

The incident occurred on December 20 at Bicentennial Beach Park in Indian Harbor Beach and was captured on video. In the wake of the attack, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission conducted an investigation. Prosecutors then reviewed both the video and the FWC’s findings.

Experts believe the species in question was a lemon shark, among the 28 protected species in Florida. According to investigators, the man was fishing from the shore and caught the shark. Rather than releasing it immediately, as the law demands, he beat the shark with a hammer. He has since allegedly admitted to such.

“Two (2) males were observed catching a shark while shore fishing, bringing the shark to shore, hitting the shark over the head with a hammer, and then dragging the shark back into the water and releasing it,” the Florida Police Department said in a statement.

Conservationists Horrified by Florida Man’s Bludgeoning of Shark

The disturbing video, which surfaced last year, shows the Florida man allegedly beating a shark to death with a hammer. The incident stretches into several unsettling minutes while another man stands by, watching the scene unfold. The man then attempts to shove the presumably dead shark out to sea, but the waves continuously push it back to shore.

Sadly, John Hourston, founder of conservation group Blue Planet Society, said that this isn’t as abnormal as one might hope. “Unfortunately, this is fairly typical of the way many shark species are still treated in the U.S,” he told Newsweek. “An outdated perception that sharks are somehow evil and should be punished still exists with some sections of society.”

The IUCN classifies lemon sharks, a non-aggressive species, as “vulnerable.” With no natural predators, lemon sharks’ only threat is humans, who kill around 100 million sharks annually. Since 1970, sharks and rays in Florida and around the world have suffered a 71% decline in populations.

“Sharks are sentient creatures who are important to ocean ecosystems. The animal in this particular video appears to be a lemon shark, which is a species that is prohibited from being killed in Florida waters,” said Kate MacFall, Florida state director for the Humane Society of the United States.

“This case brings to mind the 2017 Florida shark dragging case in which the individuals involved were duly sentenced for animal cruelty,” she continued. “We urge officials to take action to investigate those involved in this latest heartbreaking attack on a shark.”