Hero Down: Broward Sheriff's Deputy Shannon Bennett Dies From Coronavirus
Broward County, FL – Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) Deputy Shannon Bennett died late Friday night due to complications of COVID-19.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony announced the 39-year-old deputy’s death in a press release on Saturday.
Deputy Bennett began feeling ill while on duty on March 23, so he went off shift early that day, according to the release.
On March 24, he went to the hospital, where he was tested for the novel coronavirus.
The test came back positive on March 27, according to the BSO.
“He was showing signs of recovery, and it turned for the worse last night,” Sheriff Tony told WSVN.
“His white blood cells started to go back up,” explained Deputy Bennett’s brother, Darren Bennett. “The fever went down, wasn’t coming back, but apparently his heart couldn’t take the work that had ensued over the course of that time, so he died peacefully in his sleep.”
Deputy Bennett succumbed to complications of COVID-19 just before midnight on Friday, Sheriff Tony told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Deputy Bennett contracted the novel coronavirus “in the line of duty,” the sheriff told the Miami Herald.
“If you truly support your first responders, then reduce our opportunities for having citizen contact,” the sheriff said, according to WSVN. “Because for every time we have to answer a call because someone’s non-compliant, it puts our lives at risk.”
Deputy Bennett’s law enforcement career began on June 6, 2007, when he joined the BSO as a detention deputy, according to the sheriff’s press release.
In August of 2011, he was assigned to the BSO’s Department of Law Enforcement as a road patrol deputy, and was stationed in Pompano Beach.
Deputy Bennett returned to his detention deputy position approximately one year later before spending six years as a patrol deputy in Lauderdale Lakes
He had been serving as a school resource officer at Deerfield Beach Elementary School since January of 2019.
“With my [11-year-old] daughter having autism, I was very concerned about her, but he made her feel secure,” resident Juliana Calgaro told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “My daughter loved him. He was a great guy. He will be very missed on campus.”
Deerfield Beach Elementary School Principal Andrew Gerlach said that Deputy Bennett was “a caring and loving resource officer who was always willing to go above and beyond to support our students and community,” according to the paper.
“The Deerfield Beach Elementary School family lost an amazing human being and an awesome colleague to COVID-19,” Gerlach said in a statement. "Our school community is truly saddened by his passing and extends our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
“His personality was infectious and he built positive relationships that impacted both children and adults,” the school principal added. “His legacy will be forever remembered.”
Sheriff Tony described Deputy Bennett as a “fine deputy” and “consummate professional,” according to the press release.
He also praised him for his commitment in helping to “bridge the gap” between the LGBTQ community and law enforcement, the BSO said.
“I ask that you keep Shannon’s family members in your prayers, but keep Shannon within your heart," Sheriff Tony said. “His legacy will be carried on in our performance."
Deputy Bennett leaves behind his fiancé, Jonathan, as well as his mother and his brother.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Shannon Bennett, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.