SEBRING, Fla. -- Hundreds of residents lined streets in Polk and Highlands counties Thursday morning as the body of fallen Highlands County Deputy William Gentry was brought back to Sebring.
- Procession Thursday for fallen deputy William Gentry
- Organ donations completed Wednesday in Winter Haven
- Hundreds gather at vigil for slain Highlands County deputy
Gentry was shot in the line of duty when he responded to a neighborhood dispute over a dead cat on Sunday. He died on Monday. A nine-year veteran of the department, Gentry was 40 years old.
Gentry's body was brought back to Highlands County today through Polk County after his organ donation was completed.
Residents lined small roads and major highways as the procession made its way from Winter Haven back to Highlands County.
Multiple law enforcement vehicles, including a phalanx of motorcycles, were ahead and behind an ambulance that carried the body. People lined the streets, some with hands over hearts, as the procession made its way past American flags along the way.
"To honor a fallen comrade, that's how we feel. He's one of us regardless of whether in Vietnam, any battlefield, whatever it is," said resident Stuart Horton. "These officers are on the line defending everyone like we are."
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Gentry's body will be guarded 24-7 by deputies until the service.
Gentry is only the third Highlands County deputy killed in the line of duty in the past 97 years.
How to help
Donations to the Gentry family are being accepted through the HCSO. Make the check out to the Highlands County Sheriff's Office with Deputy Gentry in the memo line. Call 863-446-0003 or email email@example.com for details.