Angeles just off the Harbor Freeway (110), about halfway between the
San Diego Freeway (405) and San Pedro.
On August 12, some folks relaxing near Machado Lake in Harbor
Regional Park noticed something in the water that looked a lot like
an alligator. After a lot of double takes, pointed fingers and
nervous jokes, everyone agreed the thing gliding around the edge of
the lake was definitely an alligator.
The first people notified of the big thing in the lake were two
park workers, who took one look at the alligator and said this was a
job for the park ranger, who took one look at it and said this was a
job for animal control.
The people at animal control disagreed. Michelle Roache, who
supervises the Harbor Animal Shelter in San Pedro and is also in
charge of understatement, told the Daily Breeze, "Our animal
regulation department does not have this kind of expertise."
Kristi Navarro, a technician at a shelter, was more candid.
"They called me up like I'm going to catch it," she said to a
Daily Breeze reporter.
As hours became days, the alligator wasn't just attracting
attention -- he was attracting a crowd.
Harbor City is very bilingual, and the gator was quickly given two
names -- Harbor Park Harry or Carlito. The media turned out in force.
People started showing up from far and wide, some from other states,
which creates the biggest danger in these types of situations. There
were T-shirt vendors, who were selling "You'll Never Catch Me"
T-shirts in English and Spanish. With a crowd in the hundreds camped
out in lawn chairs and sleeping bags around the lake, the city put up
a temporary fence, to protect the alligator as much as the people.
Prior to that, Carlito's fans had been tossing him tortillas, French
bread, popcorn and a few jelly doughnuts.
Getting desperate, the city put out a call for an alligator
hunter, which can be hard to find in L.A.
They found one in Colorado named Jay Young, who was pretty cocky
when he blew into town. Young, 31, was all over the news for days,
sporting a Crocodile Dundee hat and lecturing reporters about