UPPER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. (WPVI) — A Lehigh County man has died following an incident last week where his pet snake wrapped around his neck, leading to an officer shooting the reptile.
Elliot Senseman, 27, of Upper Macungie Township, was pronounced dead at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest on Sunday morning, according to the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office.
Officials said Senseman died of an anoxic brain injury due to constriction asphyxiation. The coroner’s office said the manner of death was an accident.
Police were called to Senseman’s home in the 1400 block of Church Street in Fogelsville around 2:12 p.m. last Wednesday.
When they arrived, a family member led them to Senseman who was lying on the ground unresponsive with an 18ft snake wrapped around his neck.
The coroner’s office said it was a boa constrictor type snake.
One of the responding officers was able to fatally shoot the snake without injuring the man.
“Because the snake was so large, the midsection of the snake was wrapped around the throat. The snake’s head was just far enough from the victim that the officer made a split-second decision and fired. on the snake in the chief,” said Lt. Peter Nickischer of the Upper Macungie Township Police Department.
Lt. Nickischer said the snake didn’t die right away.
“It wasn’t like he had just died. He started walking away, luckily away from the officers, away from the direction they were trying to pull this gentleman in.” said Lieutenant Nickischer. “They realized it was a matter of life or death with seconds to make that decision. Kudos to the officers. They did what they had to do. It was a sure shot.”
Residents Action News spoke to said they often saw their neighbor in their front yard holding a snake, and they saw multiple snakes through the window.
Police said she had never responded 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 apt way to describe it,” Nickischer said.
In addition to the coroner’s office, Senseman’s death is being investigated by the Upper Macungie Township Police Department.
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