UPPER MACUNGIE TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) — A Lehigh County resident died last week after an incident in which his pet snake coiled around his neck, forcing an officer to shoot the reptile.
Elliot Senseman, 27, of Upper Macungi, was pronounced dead at Lehigh Valley Cedar Cross Hospital on Sunday morning, according to the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office.
Officials said Senseman died of an anoxic brain injury due to suffocation from compression. The coroner’s office said the death was an accident.
Police were called to Senseman’s home on the 1400 block of Church Street in Vogelsville around 2:12 p.m. last Wednesday.
When they arrived, a family member led them to Senseman, who was lying unconscious on the floor with an 18-foot snake wrapped around his neck.
The coroner’s office said it was a boa-type snake.
One of the policemen was able to fatally shoot the snake without injuring the man.
“Because the snake was so big, the middle part of the snake wrapped itself around the throat. The head of the snake was far enough away from the victim, so the policeman made a decision in a split second and started shooting the snake in the head,” the lieutenant said. Peter Nickisher of the Upper Makungi Township Police Department.
Lieutenant Nikischer said the snake did not die immediately.
“It wasn’t like he just died. He began to elude, fortunately, from the officers, from the direction in which they were trying to pull this gentleman out. Lieutenant – said Nikisher. “They realized it was a matter of life and death in seconds to make that decision. Kudos to the officers. They did what they had to do. It was safe shooting.”
Residents of Action News said they often saw their neighbor in the yard holding a snake, and they saw several snakes through the window.
The police said they had never reacted to anything like this before.
“I think one of the officers described it as a scene from a horror movie, and that’s probably the most appropriate way to describe it,” Nickischer said.
In addition to the coroner’s office, Senseman’s death is being investigated by the Upper Makungi Township Police Department.
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