Highlands deputy memorialized six months after being killed in the line of duty

- It's been six months since the death of Highlands County Deputy-Sheriff William Gentry.

On the evening of May 6, he was shot while responding to a neighborhood disturbance. Gentry was rushed to a local hospital where he died the next day.

His death shook the community to its core.

Although Gentry is now gone, his memory has not been forgotten.

"It's a great loss and sadness for our community that we've had to lay him to rest," said Sheriff of Highlands County Paul Blackman. "We think that the more time we put between us and the incident that it will ease our pain but sometimes that's not necessarily the case."

LINK: Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against suspect in deputy's murder

On Wednesday, family, co-workers, and the community gathered together to honor the life of Gentry.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office added his name to a memorial that honors fallen officers.

Gentry's name joins Captain Robert Hopton, Jr. and Inspector James Rodgers who were also apart of the Highlands County force but died in a plane crash in 1995.

"When we lose one it affects all of us there's no doubt about that," said Blackman.

The memorial serves as a permanent reminder of Gentry's legacy of dedication and service to his community.

"Each and every day that we think about Deputy Gentry, it hurts just as much as the day that it happened."

LINK: License fee for organ donors waived in honor of fallen deputy

Half a year later, the community is still morning the death of a hero.

"He was a giver of his time, of his energy, of his service, he was the kind of deputy I wish I had a hundred of them," said Blackman.

However, despite the tragedy, Blackman says Gentry wouldn't have had it any other way as he died protecting and serving the community he loved so much.

Deputy Gentry served on the force for nine years.

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