A Florida man has been charged with second-degree homicide after allegedly shooting and killing his neighbor after their cat wandered onto his property.
WFLA reports the incident occured last Wednesday in Umatilla, a central Florida city near Ocala. Police say Clifford Anthony Bliss Jr., 58, became irate when the cat belonging to his neighbor, 41-year-old James Arland Taylor Jr., walked onto Bliss’ property.
Bliss went to his neighbor’s home armed with a .22-caliber rifle, and threatened to shoot the cat. After Taylor pleaded with him not to shoot his cat, Bliss shot Taylor at least once in the chest, killing him.
“The victim, Mr. (James Arland Taylor Jr.), tells him, ‘Please don’t shoot my cat,’” sheriff’s Sgt. Paul Bloom told WFLA. “Mr. Bliss decides, ‘You know what, I’m just going to shoot him.’ So he shot Mr. Taylor and killed him there.”
Two witnesses who happened to be driving past Taylor’s property after the shooting had taken place, stopped their vehicle when they noticed the victim on the ground. After asking Taylor if he was OK, he replied, “No, I’m dying.”
“Everyone there told us that this gentleman was sort of the neighborhood hot head,” Bloom said. “We’re just shocked that something this minuscule could rise to something this devastating.”
Bliss is being held without bond in the Marion County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in court at the end of November.