Neighbor says accused deputy killer, Joseph Ables, pepper sprayed him after confrontation

Bob Gay recalls 2015 incident with Joseph Ables

LAKE PLACID, Fla. — A neighbor recalls his confrontation with a man who is now accused of shooting and killing a deputy.

Joseph Ables, 69, was arrested for allegedly killing Deputy William Gentry.


Joseph Ables

On Sunday, May 6, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office said Deputy Gentry was responding to a call about someone shooting a cat when Ables allegedly shot Deputy Gentry.

Bob Gay lived in the same Lake Placid neighborhood as Ables. He recalls an incident with him in 2015.

Related: Highlands County deputy dies after he was shot in the head in Lake Placid

"Joseph Ables came running out of his house, screaming at me to put a leash on my dog," said Gay.

Gay was walking his service dog, "Molly," around the neighborhood.


Bob Gay and "Molly"

Court documents outline the confrontation that happened with Ables in 2015.

Gay said in court documents, "I saw him and I waved to him. I said hey, how's it going."

Gay recalled Ables cursing at him. "And he says get your dog on a leash, otherwise I'm gonna kick her,"

The victim shared photos of his injuries after he said Ables pepper sprayed him:

"I turned around and I got sprayed by mace. It was right in my face. He was two feet away from me," said Gay.

Gay said he doesn't feel any bitterness toward Ables, but his heart breaks for the deputy and his family.

"I didn't care about myself. It was really the officer I was concerned about. I was hoping and praying he was going to survive, but unfortunately, he didn't," said Gay.

Ables was arrested in 2015 and charged with battery upon a person 65 years or older.

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