Joseph Ables and William Gentry

Beloved deputy killed responding to cat injured by gunshot: Police

A Florida deputy who was shot in the head Sunday while responding to a dispute over a cat has died.

From the Sun-Sentinel, Highlands County Sheriff Deputy William Gentry, 40, died at 1:10 p.m. at Lee Memorial Hospital while surrounded by family. His death came hours after Gentry reportedly arrived at a Lake Placid neighborhood 8 p.m. Sunday amid an argument involving a wounded cat.

According to the newspaper, Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman said Gentry spoke with the cat’s owner and the man believed to have shot the animal, Joseph Edward Ables, 69. Ables is accused of shooting the deputy as he went to question him about the incident.

Gentry was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition. Meanwhile, Ables—a convicted felon with a history of violence toward law enforcement—was taken into custody at the scene and charged with possession of a weapon or ammo by a convicted felon, attempted first-degree murder without premeditation, and resisting an officer with violence, Fox News reported.

Charges are expected to be upgraded in light of Gentry’s death. Reports indicated that the slain deputy had been with the department for nine years. He served as K-9 deputy from 2005 to 2013 and returned to the department in 2017, where he served as a deputy.

“My dad was a cop, I was dating a cop, so I just knew I wanted to be a cop,” Gentry said during his 2017 swearing-in ceremony, according to WFLA. “It’s fun helping someone when we can. There is a genuine reward there.”

[Featured Image: Joseph Ables/Highlands County Jail; William Gentry/WFLA]