On Friday, April 3, Deputy Shannon Bennett became the first Broward Sheriff’s official to lose his life from COVID-19. The 39-year old, who had been with BSO for almost 13 years, left work early on March 23, complaining that he was not feeling well. He was tested for coronavirus the following day and learned on March 27 that he had the virus. Bennett’s death is believed to be the first line-of-duty COVID-19 death in Florida.
“I ask that you keep Shannon’s family members in your prayers but keep Shannon within your heart. His legacy will be carried on in our performance,” Sheriff Gregory Tony said.
On Saturday the streets were lined with members of BSO, saluting Bennett’s body as it was escorted from Broward Health North to a Dania Beach funeral home.
Tony, who worked directly with Bennett, praised his professionalism along with his commitment to help bridge the gap between the LGBTQ community and law enforcement. He urged the community to heed the statewide order to stay indoors.
“This is a reminder to the community about the warnings presented for our communities to keep themselves in isolation. Every time we have to respond to a call for people congregating at the beach or anyplace else, it puts our lives at risk,” Tony said.
Bennett is survived by his fiancé, Jonathan Frey; his mother, Barbara Bennett; and his brother, Darren Bennett.
In related news, on Saturday, The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office announced that Sgt. Jose Diaz Ayala, 38, had succumbed to the virus. Ayala had underlying health issues and had worked at the department for 14 years. No other details were given.