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'Hothead' Florida man shoots neighbor dead after his cat wandered onto yard

Image source: Marion County Sheriff's Office

A Florida man known as a "hothead" shot and killed his neighbor over a dispute regarding a cat, according to authorities.

Clifton Anthony Bliss Jr., 58, shot his neighbor dead on Wednesday after the victim's cat wandered into the shooter's yard, deputies said.

Bliss apparently "became angry" that his neighbor's cat was on his property, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office. The owner of the cat, James Arland Taylor Jr., attempted to get his cat to come back home.

An argument ensued, and Bliss threatened to shoot the cat, and Taylor instructed him to not kill the animal. Bliss grabbed his .22 caliber rifle, confronted Taylor at his home, and shot him.

Witnesses, who were driving by the crime scene, saw Taylor and asked if he was all right. He reportedly responded, "No, I'm dying."

Deputies said Taylor, 41, later died from the gunshot injury to his chest.

Bliss was arrested and charged with second-degree homicide after an investigation by the Major Crimes Division.

"The arrest report states that Bliss was the neighborhood troublemaker," according to WOFL-TV. "Neighbors called him a hothead who would often get into arguments with other neighbors, and he was always armed. They say in the months leading up to the shooting he had gotten into several fights with neighbors over their pets and animals."

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Bliss told nearby witnesses and his wife over a phone conversation that Taylor assaulted him before the shooting. However, an eyewitness allegedly said she did not see any physical confrontation before the shooting.

A detective investigating the fatal shooting said Bliss' claim about being assaulted appeared to be "without merit."

Bliss is being held in the Marion County Jail with no bond, according to jail records.

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