Prosecutors charge Indian Harbour Beach shark-beating suspect with two misdemeanors
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A Melbourne fisherman accused of bludgeoning a lemon shark to death with a hammer at an Indian Harbour Beach park will face two second-degree misdemeanor charges, the State Attorney's Office announced Tuesday afternoon.
Following a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigation, Brian Waddill, 33, of Melbourne will face one count of violation of restrictions on possession of prohibited species (failure to return prohibited species unharmed) and one count of violation of prohibition against harvest, landing or sale of sharks.
“On behalf of the residents of Indian Harbour Beach, we are happy that — although justice’s wheels turn slow — that the individual has been charged and hopefully will pay for his crime against the shark and decency of humankind," Indian Harbour Beach City Manager John Coffey said.
More:FWC: Charge fisherman who clubbed shark to death with hammer at Indian Harbour Beach park
More:Shark hammer-beating incident in Indian Harbour Beach prompts proposed fishing regulations
The Dec. 20 shark-beating incident was captured on video by the Harbour House Oceanfront surf cam, located just south of Bicentennial Park.
The fisherman caught the 5-foot lemon shark and pummeled it with a hammer, video footage and witness reports show. A witness from Satellite Beach told the FWC she watched the suspect "flip the shark on its side and he used the claw portion of the hammer to rip out the shark's gills."
Per Florida Statute, it is unlawful to harvest, possess, land, purchase, sell or exchange a lemon shark.
Brian WADDILL (33) facing two misdemeanor charges stemming from @MyFWC investigation into Illegal Shark Harvesting in Satellite Beach on Dec 20, 2022. All charges and summons announcement at: https://t.co/1CGYHxJhA3 pic.twitter.com/Pz5Mo4cFvY
— State Attorney 18th Circuit FL (@SA18PIO) February 28, 2023
"Given the significant public interest in the case, we are confirming that a summons will be issued for Waddill, and once served he will be provided with a date to appear before the Court," a State Attorney's Office press release said.
"Our office won't offer further comment or speculate as to the possible outcome while the case remains open and active before the Court," the press release said.
In the wake of the shark-beating incident, the Indian Harbour Beach City Council continues to consider updated surf-fishing regulations at the city's two beach parks, Bicentennial and Millennium.
Coffey said the second, final reading of an ordinance has been postponed to March 14. This ordinance may lift the longtime bans on fishing and surfing at both parks, while prohibiting chumming for sharks.
Rick Neale is the South Brevard Watchdog Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY (for more of his stories, click here.) Contact Neale at 321-242-3638 or email@example.com. Twitter: @RickNeale1
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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Indian Harbour Beach shark-beating suspect charged with misdemeanors