Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman this morning held a press conference – outlining details of public and private ceremonies to honor Deputy William Gentry.
Gentry was fatally shot Sunday evening while answering a call of a neighborhood dispute in Lake Placid.
First, there will be a candle light vigil tomorrow evening at Fireman’s Field – that will begin at 8pm. Next Tuesday, May 15th there will be a a Law Enforcement Memorial Service to he held at the Highlands County Fairgrounds’ Convention Center.
Both of those observances are open to the public.
Blackman announced that charges against 69-year-old Joseph Edward Ables are being upgraded to first degree murder in connection with the incident. Ables also faces several other charges and is being held in the Highlands County jail under no bond.
Officials of the Florida Forest Service say the Jack’s Creek wildfire again has rekindled and now has consumed better than 425 acres north of Lake Placid.
Although the wildfire still is on land managed by Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, it has burned to within 500-feet of homes on Northern Boulevard.
Firefighters are working to keep it from crossing that line. Reportedly, there are lots of resources on hand and the blaze is said to be 85-percent contained.
State Wildland Firefighters were building contingency lines south of the fire in case of a wind shift.
They caution motorists there again may be smoke in that area and to drive with caution.
A pilot reportedly was injured at the Sebring Regional Airport yesterday in an incident on the runway. Officials say a Gyrocopter piloted by Bob Harshbarger was attempting to make a turn, when the rotor on the craft shifted and hit the pavement.
Harshbarger was transporteded with what were said to be non-life threatening injuries. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.