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Bahamas Fisherman Shoots Monster 10-foot Tiger Shark; 'I just did what I had to do'

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WEST END, Grand Bahama -- Grand Bahama fisherman, Shalton Barr, never thought he would star in his own Jaws movie or at least have a similar encounter.

This 10-foot tiger shark weighs about 283 pounds and was caught by avid fishermen, Hayward Thomas and Shalton Barr, off West End, Grand Bahama.

Mr. Barr and his friend Hayward "Pinchy" Thomas was diving for lobsters in waters off Sandy Cay, near West End, on Wednesday morning, when he saw a 10-foot tiger shark approaching. Mr. Barr said the shark began to "stalk" them, coming closer and closer.

"We were diving and this big shark come around [and] by the end of the day he didn’t act right so I couldn’t afford to wait," said Mr. Barr, who tried to ignore the shark but the shark kept advancing.

"So I shot him twice [with the spear gun] and then my friend Pinchey shot him … so we tried to grab something, hook him and spin him over and then we raise his tail up and tie him. He was so heavy that we couldn’t put him in the boat. So we tie him along the boat and drown it and pull it into shore," Mr. Barr said.

Mr. Barr said the struggle lasted almost two hours and that it was the first time he has been in any real threat from a shark of that size.

Mr. Thomas also said he felt threatened by the shark that he thought was a great white because it was so big.

"Well we were in the water when we saw him and he was coming close for an attack. I just did what I had to do," Mr. Thomas said.

"I think it was going to be him or us," Mr. Barr said.

After Mr. Barr left his catch on a West End dock, another fisherman, Leo Moxey, filet the 283-pound shark for him and discovered that the he was in fact a she, who was carrying 36 pups.

Mr. Moxey said tiger sharks frequent West End waters around this time of the year.

"They usually are around the cay mating this time of year. So if you go out in the evening time or first thing in the morning you can see a whole bunch of them near the beach waiting," Mr. Moxey said.

"That’s why they when the divers go in the water and dive in the muddy water they have to be careful because they attack like turtles. They’re very aggressive, [both] them and the hammerhead sharks," he said.

Mr. Barr and Mr. Thomas were both unharmed. They shared their catch with the residents of West End but Mr. Barr is keeping the jaws for himself. He said although they killed the shark it was not for sport.

"I really feel bad about that but at the end of the day if I had probably let him live, I probably wouldn’t be here today so I thank God I’m here," Mr. Barr said.


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Reader Comments

33 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

what a shame such an awesome shark had to be killed, especially a pregnant one, don't blame the guy, but I think people should try using more humane shark repellents
   comment# 1   - Adrian · New Jersey, U.S. · Apr 23, 2007 @ 8:55pm

If the shark had wanted them it would have taken them right away. We dive and have seen numerous sharks and even though they come around they haven't attacked. Sharks are attracted to spear fisherman, they know there is food there. People who spear fish here have had sharks come very close but they've never been attacked. But no one has to worry, pretty soon the sharks will be gone. The way of many species.
   comment# 2   - Kathy · FLorida, USA · Jun 6, 2007 @ 8:32am

This guy probably read this shark right, it sounds like it was going to attack him. Why are people more worried about sharks then Humans. We should try and protect endangered species and should never hunt or fish any animal to the point of exticntion but between humans or fish I pick humans.
   comment# 3   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska Texas · Jun 10, 2007 @ 11:29am

It sounds like Mr. Barr was very observant and gave his "shot" consideration. While I am a conservationist and avid fisherman I must agree with Robert Rollin, humans have a right to protect themselves. We are decimating the shark population but it is not because of the Mr. Barr's of the world it is the commercial giants and the international government needs to ACT NOW before the damage is irreversible.
   comment# 4   - Paul · Maryland · Sep 5, 2007 @ 7:03am

I agree with Paul from Maryland... divers aren't the ones to keep and eye on, its the international governments, they are much more powerful. I think Mr. Barr had no intention of killing a shark that day, but when you are diving and being hunted, you can sense it. I'm stoked he had the balls to finish the job and get in close contact. Thats a battle he will never forget.
   comment# 5   - Bret Carasso · San Diego CA USA · Sep 20, 2007 @ 2:58pm

I was just in the bahamas over christmas and met mr. barr and he is one of the most honest people ive ever met. We went spearfishing in his little boat and took a bunch of tourists out, and he defiantly plays by the rules and doesn't kill more than he has to.
   comment# 6   - michael roste · canada · Jan 5, 2008 @ 7:48am

I also met Mr. Barr in the Bahamas and went spearfishing with him. Shalton is a man of the sea. He has a wild shark friend who he feeds on regular basis. There is no doubt in my mind that if he shot that tiger shark, it was because he felt real danger.
   comment# 7   - Chantale Levesque · Canada · Jan 14, 2008 @ 1:46pm

You Canadianss and the Bahamas!
   comment# 8   - Jill · Alabama · Jan 15, 2008 @ 9:31pm

We just returned from the Bahamas, and we took a trip with Shalton also. He was great and I'm sure this act was in self defense. Sometimes you gotta realize "kill or be killed" applies.
   comment# 9   - Jane Davis · Honea Path, SC · Feb 12, 2008 @ 10:48am

I am so very glad that the men were unharmed. God does answer prayer and takes care of his own.
   comment# 10   - Sybil Ingram · Jasper, AL / U.S.A. · Mar 5, 2008 @ 11:08am

The highlight of our trip was meeting Shalton. If you knew him you would know that he would not kill anything just for the heck of it. He respects his country and surroundings and we are very happy to have met him.
   comment# 11   - Linda Foerster · Airdrie, Alta, Canada · Mar 17, 2008 @ 12:00pm

I've met Mr Barr myself last week, without a doubt he would not kill something of that magnitude in sport. To Kathy in Florida I am a hunter & though most animals don't harm humans, some go against their instincts. I have been in areas where I have felt something was watching and hunting me, fortunately never coming to the bitter end for me or the animal. Like Mr Barr I do not kill for sport but strictly for food that has not been forced to eat growth hormones etc. I have even had a so called harmless plant eating Moose stalk me and then try to attack me. He did it only because he was having a bad day, not because he was startled or in defense. I was going for Elk. But with all of these comments some will still make there own uneducated decisions, thinking that we all should be vegetarians and that it is the lone hunters causing the damage. Just remember one person on there own is smart in morals, people in large numbers cause damage. The large numbers are who business men sell too. Watch what products you use and voice opposition to senseless destruction etc.
   comment# 12   - Chad Livingstone · Airdrie,Alta, Canada · Mar 17, 2008 @ 2:57pm

ohhhhhhhh! leave the poor sharks alone they didn't do any thing to us if ur in a boat and a sharks coming towards you start your boat and go away from it ok!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   comment# 13   - bethany foster · Reading, England · Jun 4, 2008 @ 6:06am

I have been on two excursions with Shalton and he has the utmost respect for the sea and it's inhabitants. He explained to us the event in full and is one of the most honest, upstanding people I have ever met. Never would he do something to upset the ecosystem. I love animals myself but think it unwise to put their rights and safety before my own. If your child and family pet were both about to be attacked fatally and you had time to choose one to save what would be your decision? If you would choose the animal then I would question your mental stability and moral compass.
   comment# 14   - Ellis Anders · Greenville, South Carolina · Jun 24, 2008 @ 3:46am

We went spear fishing with Mr. Barr and we also came in contact with a 6" reef shark. Mr. Barr killed it and we ate it. It was the best thing we had that trip. What a great experience. I learned a lot from Mr. Barr. He doesn't kill things for fun. Only for food or self defense.
   comment# 15   - Rick and Jason · Kingsville, Texas, USA · Nov 4, 2008 @ 1:51pm

I kno Mr. Barr and he is one of the sweestest most nicest person around. I know you would never just harm an animal unless you feel threatened. To Bethany Foster, if u had read more carefully you would of known that they were in the water and not in the boat. Mr Barr am happy that you are safe and glad you did not wait to be attacked.
   comment# 16   - kelly · bahamas · Apr 8, 2009 @ 1:44pm

i was just in the bahamas last week, i didn't see mr. barr...but wooweee the bahamas is awesome!
   comment# 17   - trev · napoleon ohio usa · Apr 29, 2009 @ 10:57pm

I also met Shalton on a boat trip and he was the higtlight of my trip.We had a great time and I have thought of him many times with a smile on my face since returning home. Great fun nice man!!! If you get the opportunity to go on a trip with him its well worth your time.
   comment# 18   - sandy shelley · crowley tx,usa · Jun 3, 2009 @ 11:07am

Just got back from Freeport Bahamas and Went fishing with Shalton Barr June 8th 2010. Cought nice fish and lobster and he cooked them up on the beach at Peterson Cay. Great fisherman, Great cook and a genuine nice person. He loves the sea and the life in it and does not kill for the sport of it. Gary and Teresa Weller Maryland USA
   comment# 19   - Gary Weller · Germantown Maryland USA · Jun 12, 2010 @ 6:13am

Shalton Barr rocks! Great fisherman, cook and overall great company. His laugh cracked me up.
   comment# 20   - Teresa · germantown, md · Jun 13, 2010 @ 7:53am

Shalton barr is my brother from another mother!{LOL} The best fisherman I ever seen with my eyes! He took us out to see the barge thats was underwater, cought fish an cooked for us. I will recommend Shalton to everybody thats goes to Freeport to look him! Like Teresa & Gary said a genuine nice person! Thanks for everything Brother.
   comment# 21   - Jay Rogers · Macon,Georgia · Jun 21, 2010 @ 6:35pm

Just returned from Freeport and absolutely agree with all others who came in contact with Shalton. He is a great guy and very funny too. I had to laugh about the comments of "brother from another mother" and his laugh. Would highly recommend him to others...he knows the area and how to have a great time...I was in awe watching him spearfish while we snorkeled the reef..truly amazing
   comment# 22   - Lisa · Leesburg, Va · Sep 4, 2010 @ 2:34pm

We just returned from the Bahamas. It was by far the best and most beautiful place we have visited. The locals and people there only added to its beauty. Shalton was a true man of God and a wonderful new friend. Our time with him was very informative, and most of all, fun. What a wonderful man! May God bless and protect him all of his days.
   comment# 23   - Shonti and Colin · Louisiana · Sep 12, 2010 @ 6:40pm

Wow Shelton!!! You sure don't boast about these things to people!!! We were just at Taino beach in Freeport for a week in september and spent alot of time with Shelton. He took us to a greAt resturaunt and even came and sang some music for us. Not once did he talk about this shark or anything of the sort. I believe he was the most fun my group had in Freeport and a main reason that we will return soon. God bless Shelton Barr 2010
   comment# 24   - Josh and nicole · Chicago,il · Sep 21, 2010 @ 3:46pm

My family just visited Freeport we met Shelton Barr , had a wonderful time on his boat tour I would recommend if you travel to Freeport look him up.
   comment# 25   - The Burt's · Newnan, Ga · Oct 25, 2010 @ 4:59pm

This is a tragedy. A complete and utter tragedy, born of lack of knowledge and respect for the shark. This is a prime example of the huge need of informing EVERYONE about our impact on the ocean's inhabitants. Ignorance is no longer a good enough excuse.
   comment# 26   - Kirstin · Grand Cayman · Mar 2, 2011 @ 9:10am

Thats my uncle who shot the shark!!! Wooohoo. :)
   comment# 27   - Fredrick Russell · The Bahamas · Jan 9, 2013 @ 10:34pm

you lot dont remember all the horrors our fella humans suffered when left alone and helpless in those shark infested seas after their ships were torpedo all those years ago .revenge is sweet HA kill em all let them suffer .
   comment# 28   - jim buck · england · Mar 7, 2013 @ 3:07pm

Wow that's great! Leo Moxey is my dad and that's how I found him 29 years later reading this article
   comment# 29   - cleo moxey · canada · Mar 13, 2013 @ 6:50am

I just left the Bahamas with my family a few days ago. We had the most amazing time with Shelton Barr. He took us out on his boat trip and we loved it. He has so much respect for his country and the people there. I brought a timeshare there and Shelton will be contacted before we come to make dam sure he's not out diving. He talked more about the Olympics and keeping in shape more than anything else. We love this man, he is my Bahamian friend for life and we he comes to visit us in NY we intend to repay him by showing hime a wonderful time. God Bless you Shelton, until we meet again!!!
   comment# 30   - Donna C. · USA · Aug 12, 2014 @ 10:26pm

While vacationing in Freeport Bahamas, we met Shalton has and he treated exceptionally well. Actually, he treated us better than the staff at our resort. My family and I have taken 3 boat trips with him within our two weeks vacation. Shalton, you are an amazing person. We will definately keep in touch. May God continue to bless you, and keep you safe.
   comment# 31   - Patrice and Craig · NJ · Aug 29, 2014 @ 11:10pm

we spent a week there and the only reason our trip was as worder full as it was is because of Shalton Barr... He is an amazing and very real person.. we can't wait to go back to top see and hang with him. the resort had very bad service, but he really made our trip...
   comment# 32   - Dawn morgan · SPRINGFIELD, USA · Jul 31, 2016 @ 9:45pm

Sheldon barr is a great guy. We spent a week in the Bahamas and Sheldon was our guide on a snorkeling Adventure he showed us a time of our lives unbelievably how cool it was..the lobster and the fish he spears where so good we ate like kings and pressure....thanks Sheldon...your buddy from n.y
   comment# 33   - Bobby · U.s · Dec 31, 2016 @ 1:43pm
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