Deputy William Gentry was trying to resolve the dispute between neighbors after a cat was shot and the owner called the police. When approaching the man suspected of shooting the cat, Joseph Edward Ables, 69 old, the officer was shot in the head and critically wounded. Police describe Ables as a felon with a history of violence toward police. He was arrested and taken to the Highlands County Jail without bond. The officer was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital in critical condition and died Monday afternoon.
Deputy William Gentry
“It was just a typical neighbor dispute that deputies answer all the time. It’s just one of those things that goes along with law enforcement: There is no routine call,” sheriff’s office spokesman Scott Dressel said. Authorities charged Ables on Monday with attempted first-degree murder, possession of a weapon by a felon and resisting an officer with violence, among other things. He was already on probation for battery of an elderly person. Gentry is the first Highlands County deputy to be killed in the line of duty as the result of a crime. His brother is also a Highlands deputy. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he offered all state resources after receiving news about the deputy shooting.