‘He’s crazy:’ Locals react to man jumping in lake to evade police
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - This weekend, a man was so desperate to escape Wilmington Police that he decided to jump in water known to be filled with alligators.
“He’s crazy. There’s some big gators in here,” said Korey Stone, who often fishes at the lake. “You don’t wanna go in that water. No way.”
Police say they tried serving a warrant to Daekwon Pearce, 27, around 12:30 Saturday afternoon. That’s when they say he ran away and eventually jumped into Greenfield Lake to try to get away. When he tried swimming across the lake, he started to drown and authorities rescued him.
Many people say he’s lucky that was the extent of his troubles, as Greenfield Lake has a few residents you wouldn’t want to come face to face with.
“We do have a variety of wildlife. It’s a biodiverse lake,” said Marissa Blackburn, an environmental education manager for Cape Fear River Watch. “The animals that live here include some reptiles like our American alligator.”
Those reptiles are likely not what was on Pearce’s mind when he jumped in. Experts say it’s something you should never do. Even if you’re simply walking around the lake, you need to pay attention.
“If you have dogs that you’re walking around the lake, best to keep them on a leash and not let them get too close to the water because the gators, you know, they’re opportunistic predators,” said Blackburn. “They eat any small animals they can get their hands on.”
Unfortunately, these gators aren’t as scared of people as they should be. Despite it being illegal in North Carolina, many people feed them.
“They’re going to keep coming to you, you know what I mean? If they keep feeding them, they’re going to expect that food and just keep on waiting for it,” said Stone.
Luckily for Pearce, he didn’t encounter any gators. Still, leaders want to remind visitors at Greenfield Lake that going for a swim with these predators is too big of a risk to take.
“I was surprised that someone would go swimming in the lake,” said Blackburn. “I personally wouldn’t want to go swimming in our lake but I do love and enjoy getting out on our lake -- kayaking, paddle boating, canoeing. I do encourage people to get out and enjoy the lake, but not to swim in it.”
Copyright 2022 WECT. All rights reserved.