Florida man shoots, kills neighbor in fight over cat, deputies say

Witnesses told Marion deputies Cliffton Bliss has history of confronting neighbors with gun

Clifton Bliss, 58 (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A man is locked up in Marion County after he shot and killed his neighbor during a fight over the victim’s cat, according to deputies.

Cliffton Bliss Jr., 58, was arrested Wednesday after deputies responded to a reported shooting at 15980 SE 258th Avenue Road, just north of Southeast Highway 42.

According to the arrest report, Bliss went to the home of James Taylor Jr., 41, with a .22 caliber rifle demanding to know whether the victim owned a cat. Bliss said he was going to shoot the cat, a witness told deputies.

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The two men argued and Taylor told Bliss to leave his property, deputies said. A witness told investigators that is when Bliss fired twice at Taylor, according to the report.

At least three witnesses told deputies that Bliss had a history of confronting neighbors with a gun.

Following the shooting, one witness said Bliss left the scene and returned wearing a different pair of pants and shoes. Deputies spoke with the victim’s wife who said when Bliss returned to the home, Bliss claimed Taylor had attacked him and that he shot the man in self-defense.

Bliss faces a charge of second-degree homicide. He is being held without bond.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.