Florida man accused of killing neighbor whose cat wandered onto his property

Florida

MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) — A Florida man has been charged with homicide after he was accused of shooting a neighbor, deputies say.

On Wednesday, detectives with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Division responded to 15980 SE 258th Avenue Road in reference to a reported shooting, according to the report.

Following their investigation, officials said detectives arrested Cliffton Anthony Bliss Jr. and charged him with second-degree homicide.

Through their investigation, detectives learned that Bliss became angry when his neighbor’s pet entered his property.

“Mr. Bliss was so upset that his neighbor’s cat had wandered over into his yard that he went, retrieved a rifle, leaves his home, goes across the street to the victim’s home, tells them that he was upset that their cat came into his yard,” said Sgt. Paul Bloom.

Detectives said Bliss went to his neighbor’s home armed with a .22-caliber rifle. While he was originally mad about the cat, Sgt. Bloom said Bliss directed his anger at its owner.

“The victim, Mr. (James Arland Taylor Jr.), tells him, ‘Please don’t shoot my cat,'” Bloom said. “Mr. Bliss decides, ‘You know what, I’m just going to shoot him.’ So he shot Mr. Taylor and killed him there.”

In the incident report, a witness said Bliss shot Taylor twice in the chest. Neighbors reported that Bliss would often fight with them about their pets.

“Everyone there told us that this gentleman was sort of the neighborhood hot head,” Bloom said.

Bliss is being held in the Marion County Jail with no bond. The sheriff’s office said the cat was not hurt, but now its owner’s family is left grieving.

“We’re just shocked that something this minuscule could rise to something this devastating,” Bloom said.

Bliss appears in court at the end of November.

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