LAKE PLACID, Fla. -- Highlands County Sheriff's Office Deputy William Gentry died Monday afternoon after being shot Sunday evening in Lake Placid.

  • Highlands County deputy shot; died Monday
  • Deputy William Gentry was shot
  • Joseph Edward Ables, 69, arrested in the shooting

On its Facebook and Twitter pages, the Sheriff's Office said: "It is with tremendous sadness that we report that Deputy William J. Gentry Jr. passed away at 1:10 p.m. today, May 7, at Lee Memorial Hospital as a result of his injuries. Please keep his family and our HCSO family in your prayers. We will release details about the services as soon as we have them."

Deputy Gentry was responding to a neighbor dispute involving a cat that allegedly had been shot. 

After speaking with the complainant, Deputy Gentry went to 234 Baltimore Way to speak to the neighbor who was suspected of shooting the cat.

Deputy Gentry made contact with 69-year-old Joseph Edward Ables at his front door just before 8 p.m.

That's when Ables shot Deputy Gentry, officials said.

Deputy Gentry was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital, where he died. A sheriff's spokesman said Monday that Gentry was an organ donor and said "some good may come out of this unspeakable tragedy."

"Today, my wife, Ann, and I join all Floridians in mourning the loss of another Florida hero, Deputy William Gentry, whose life has now been senselessly taken," said Gov. Rick Scott. "Last night, I spoke with Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman and committed all available state resources they may need. We will not stand for anyone who hurts our law enforcement."

Ables, who is a convicted felon with assault charges dating back to 1983, was arrested at the scene and taken to the Highlands County Jail. 

Ables has been charged with attempted first degree murder without premeditation. Other charges include: Possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, resisting an officer with violence, tampering with evidence and violation of probation.

There was no word Monday afternoon about new charges after the deputy died.

Deputy Gentry, 40, had nine years and four months of service with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office. He was the third deputy to die while on the Highlands County Sheriff's Office force.

Two deputies were killed in a July 10, 1995, plane crash.

"William is an experienced law enforcement officer and serves as one of our Field Training Deputies," Sheriff Paul Blackman said. "His brother is one of our detectives. This is an unimaginable tragedy for our agency. Our prayers are with Deputy Gentry and his family and we ask that your prayers be with them, also."

Anyone who has any information that may be useful to the investigation, please email or call 863-402-7250.