Florida Deputy Shot and Killed While Responding to Dispute Over Cat

May 08, 2018

A Florida Sheriff’s deputy who was shot in the head on Sunday while responding to a dispute involving a cat has died, according to officials.


Deputy WIlliam J. Gentry Jr., 40, of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, died Monday afternoon from his injuries sustained during the incident.


Gentry was a 9-year veteran on the force.




Gentry and a deputy-in-training were responding to a dispute between two neighbors in Lake Placid, Florida. 69-year-old suspect Joseph Edward Ables allegedly had shot the neighbor's cat.


Ables then proceeded to shoot Gentry in the head as he approached the suspect, according to Sheriff Paul Blackman.


Neither Gentry or the deputy-in-training exchanged fire with Ables. Gentry was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.




“William is an experienced law enforcement officer and serves as one of our Field Training Deputies,” said Blackman. “His brother is one of our detectives.”


“This is an unimaginable tragedy for our agency. Our prayers are with Deputy Gentry and his family.”



“My wife and I join all Floridians in mourning the loss of another Florida hero, Deputy William Gentry, whose life has now been senselessly taken,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott.


“We will not stand for anyone who hurts our law enforcement. I ask for all Floridians to pray for Deputy Gentry’s family and loved ones, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office and all of our courageous law enforcement who go above and beyond every day to keep us safe,” said Scott


Joseph Edward Ables is a convicted felon with a history of violence and aggression towards law enforcement.



Ables was taken into custody at the scene and charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, attempted first-degree murder without premeditation, resisting an officer with violence, violation of probation, and tampering with evidence.

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