39-year-old Florida deputy dies from coronavirus, sheriff urges public to heed distancing orders


BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Broward Sheriff’s Office in South Florida announced Saturday that one of their deputies lost his life to COVID-19.

Deputy Shannon Bennett, 39, served the Broward Sheriff’s Office for more than 12 years. He died Friday night.

Bennett tested positive for COVID-19 March 24, Sheriff Gregory Tony announced at a news conference Saturday. By March 27, Bennett was in hospital care and showing signs of recovery. He died eight days later.

“This is a reminder, to not only this community but to us as first responders, that we’re on the first line for this,” Tony said. “That we’re not immune to it and we can fall victim as well.”

Shannon played a role in the ‘rebranding’ of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the sheriff said.

“Over the last year we have fought very hard to rebrand and redevelop this organization,” Tony said. “And Shannon was part of that.”

A key role Bennett played, Tony said, was forming an LGBT committee within the sheriff’s office. The sheriff said Bennett was part of the LGBT community and thought representation within the agency would help better bond them with the community.

Instead of giving your thoughts and prayers, the sheriff wants everyone to take heed to all the warnings and orders that have been given amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“If you truly support your first responders, then reduce our opportunities for having citizen contact… For every time we have to answer a call for someone who’s non-compliant, we’re putting our lives at risk,” he said.

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