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Courts / Law

Funeral Service For Fallen Highlands County Sheriff's Deputy

Highlands County Sheriff's Office Facebook page
Highlands County Sheriff's officials estimated over 3,500 people attended Tuesday's funeral for Dept. William Gentry, who was shot to death May 6.

A Florida sheriff's deputy who was killed while responding to a dispute over a cat was laid to rest Tuesday.

A six mile long funeral procession for Highlands County Sheriff's Deputy William Gentry began in the central Florida city of Sebring.

Sheriff's officials estimated over 3,500 people attended the funeral, with law enforcement officers coming from as far away as Boston and California to pay their respects.

Credit Charlotte County Sheriff's Office Facebook page
Charlotte County Sheriff's Office Facebook page
Law enforcement, like these deputies from Charlotte County, came from across Florida and the country for Dept. Gentry's funeral Tuesday in Sebring.

News outlets reported the nearby Polk County Sheriff's Office covered Highlands County during the service for Gentry so his colleagues could attend the funeral.

Sheriff's Lt. Chris Smith was one of Gentry's training officers before working alongside him.

"Those of us that knew and served with Willy were blessed every day he was with us," Smith said during the service, at times fighting back tears. "His compassion, devotion, bravery, humor and strength will never be forgotten."

Gentry, 40, joined the force in 2005. He responded to a dispute between neighbors over a cat that had been shot May 6. Officials say Gentry was shot when he approached the front door of 69-year-old Joseph Edward Ables.

Ables is charged with first-degree murder.

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