Deputy Shannon Bennett of the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) has died after contracting the novel coronavirus.
Though the virus’s effects are typically more severe older individuals, Bennett was only 39 years old. More than a dozen BSO employees have tested positive for the virus so far.
“I ask that you keep Shannon’s family members in your prayers, but keep Shannon within your heart,” Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a Facebook post announcing Bennett’s passing.
“His legacy will be carried on in our performance.”
Bennett was a 12-year veteran of BSO. According to a report from the Miami Herald, Bennett had been hospitalized since March 27.
“This is a reminder, to not only this community, but us as first responders, that we’re on the front lines with this,” Sheriff Tony added at a Saturday news conference, according to the Herald.
“We lost a man in the line of duty, and we’re probably going to lose another. But we’re going to keep fighting this battle and if you support us then take heed of this virus.”
Bennett is the first member of a Broward County law enforcement agency to die after contracting the virus.
“Ours is a unique profession,” Tony added.
“It impacts our performance but at the very end of that he died saving people. This can happen to any of us at any time. When we put on this uniform and walk into a mall and are now involved in a shooting these are the severe and serious consequences of our job. But this can be six feet away from me at this time and you never see it coming.”
As of a Saturday morning update, Broward ranks second in the state in confirmed cases with 1,792. Miami-Dade has more than double that number, at 3,667.
Darren Bennett, Shannon’s brother, added a remembrance of his brother in a separate Facebook post.
“I can’t even function right now!” Darren wrote.
“I love you sooo much man! I can’t believe I’m even posting this! Rest well Shannon S Bennett! You fought a damn good fight and your legacy WILL LIVE ON! I got it from here bro. Deputy S Bennett take a bow.”
Darren Bennett also added a warning to the community at large.
“To everyone else…please don’t take covid19 lightly STAY AT HOME!”