KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) – A woman who was upset about lobster divers in the canal behind her house in the Florida Keys was arrested after allegedly shooting at them with a handgun.

Mary Alice Workman fired a shot near a pontoon boat Thursday as others warned divers participating in the state’s annual two-day sport lobster hunt, witnesses told investigators. No one was injured.

In a telephone interview Saturday with The Associated Press, Workman said she fired into the water and could see the bullet’s downward path.

“That’s my canal, and they have no business in there,” Workman said. “They was taking the lobster, and we’re not going to have no more lobsters.”

Workman, 69, told police she had a .38-caliber handgun under her pillow. Officers confiscated the gun, a handheld flare gun and a BB gun.

She was charged Thursday with aggravated assault and discharging a firearm in public. She smiled for her mug shot, spent the night in the Monroe County Jail and was released Friday.

A new county ordinance bars Keys hunters from catching spiny lobsters within 300 feet of a residential shoreline outside the city of Key West. Workman lives within city boundaries.

Thousands of recreational divers descend on the Keys for the annual mini-season established by the state. The new rule was based on complaints from residents about an influx of rowdy hunters.

Workman complained the two-day season brings in too many people.

“People come from out of town and everything. It’s just a big scam for the hotels to make money, and we have enough traffic down here as it is,” she said. “I’m going to fight it to the doggone end.”

AP-ES-07-31-04 2038EDT



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