Deputy William Gentry died Monday after he was shot in the head while responding to a call of a dispute between neighbors in Lake Placid on Sunday night over a cat that had been shot.
Gentry was responding to a call in Lake Placid about a man shooting a cat, HCSO said.
Gentry spoke to Joseph Edward Ables, 69, who was suspected of shooting the cat, and he shot Gentry, officials said.
Topic Pulse says Sheriff Paul Blackman explained to reporters what allegedly happened.
The nine-year veteran of the Highlands County Sheriff's Office died of his injuries at the hospital Monday.
Ables was charged Monday with attempted first-degree murder, possession of a weapon by a felon, resisting an officer with violence, among other things. He originally joined Highlands County as a deputy in 2005.
Gentry was a nine-year veteran of the force, who had recently rejoined the Highlands County Sheriff's Office in February 2017, according to a post on the sheriff's office Facebook page.
Law enforcement agencies from around Southwest Florida offered their support for the critically injured deputy on social media.
Ables has a criminal history dating back to 1983, including battery of a law enforcement officer in 2001. And when Deputy Gentry's vehicle arrived at the Sheriff's Office to serve as a memorial, many of his colleagues stood at attention.
"Deputies, all law enforcement officers have to be on their toes and unfortunately, we've had the worst that can happen, happen to us", said Highlands County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Scott Dressel.
"We will not stand for anyone who hurts our police force", Scott stated in a statement. We are heartbroken at this reminder that law enforcement put their lives on the line every moment they are on duty for their fellow citizens.