CBSN

Cop Wrestles With Snake, Saves Store Owner

A female Burmese python named L12 is shown, Wednesday, July 14, 2004, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. University of Alabama biology professor Stephen Secor is seeking to better understand how digestion works, and is conducting a study with pythons he hopes will result in new treatments for intestinal disorders and diabetes.
AP
A pet store owner is calling a police sergeant a hero for saving her from the coils of a 12-foot Burmese python doing its best to turn her into a meal.

Teresa Rossiter had reached into a cage Thursday to show the huge snake to a customer when it bit her right hand and coiled around her left arm to throw her to the floor. She said she'd been handling feeder mice earlier, and it's possible their scent was still on her hands.

A friend who happened to be at the store kept the snake off her neck and body while police were called.

That's when Sgt. Ryan Nelson from the Eugene Police Department showed up, according to The Oregonian. He went for his knife, preparing to kill the snake. But Rossiter asked him not to hurt the animal, which would sell for $850.

So, Nelson donned gloves and managed to pry open the python's mouth, even as some of the snake's teeth broke off and penetrated his hand. The Eugene Fire Department arrived and, with two responders, Nelson said, they managed to unwrap the snake from the woman's body.

Still, Nelson struggled getting Darla back in her cage.

"They're pretty strong," he said. "It was able to twist once on me and fell to the ground."

When it went for him, he grabbed it and slammed it into the cage.

"It would (have to) be the most unusual call that I've ever gone to," said Nelson, who's been on the Eugene police force for six years.

Rossiter, who suffered 100 puncture wounds, was back at work Friday, amid her alligators, tarantulas and pythons. She called Nelson a hero.

"He was the bravest guy ever. He went way above and beyond the call of duty," she told The Oregonian.