Highlands County Sheriff’s Deputy William Gentry was shot in the head while answering a domestic disturbance call. We have the latest information on the alleged shooter, 69-year-old Joseph Ables.
On the evening of May 6, Deputy William Gentry and a deputy in training responded to a domestic dispute call. Someone contacted the Sheriff’s department with a complaint that their neighbor, Joseph Edward Ables, shot their cat.
|About Joseph Edward Ables|
|Height||5 feet 9 inches|
|Address||234 Baltimore Way, Lake Placid|
|Arrested For||Shooting Highlands County Sheriff’s Deputy William Gentry|
The deputies arrived at the 200 block of Baltimore Way to speak about the shooting of 15-year-old cat, Mr. Brown. They first spoke to the cat owner, and Gentry walked over to Ables’ home at 234 Baltimore Way. The training deputy stayed with the neighbor.
He was met at the front door by Ables. A few moments later, at approximately 7:56 p.m., Ables shot Gentry in the head. The officer was soon airlifted to a Lee Memorial Hospital as he was in critical condition. Ables was arrested with numerous charges set against him.
UPDATE: According to the latest reports, Gentry succumbed to his injuries and died at 1:10 p.m. on Monday, May 7. The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office took to Twitter to inform the public of their deputy’s unfortunate passing.
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.
— Highlands Co Sheriff (@HighCoSheriff) May 7, 2018
Who Is Joseph Ables?
Details on who Joseph Edward Ables was before he shot Deputy Gentry are still coming in, but this is what we know so far. He is 69 years old and, according to officials, he’s a convicted felon with a history of violence towards members of law enforcement.
It is unknown how long Ables lived at 234 Baltimore Way, but real estate listings show that the two-bedroom home was up for sale in late 2016.
Charges against Joseph Ables
Currently, the Highland County Sheriff’s Department revealed that Joseph Edward Ables has five separate charges laid against him.
Those charges include attempted first-degree murder without premeditation, resisting an officer with violence, tampering with evidence, and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Ables has also been charged with violating his probation. Now, with the confirmation of Deputy William Gentry’s death, it is likely more charges will be laid against him. As of this writing, he is currently being held in Highland County Jail without bond. Records do not indicate if Ables has yet appointed a lawyer.
Florida Governor Rick Scott tweeted that he put all of his office’s resources at the Sheriff Department’s disposal, adding in part that “Hurting a LEO [law enforcement officer] is pure evil & we won’t stand for it.”
I have spoken with @HighCoSheriff Blackman on the deputy shot tonight & offered all state resources. Hurting a LEO is pure evil & we won’t stand for it. I ask all Floridians to pray for the family, the HCSO & all the brave LEOs who go above & beyond every day to keep us safe.
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) May 7, 2018