The Broward, Florida Sheriff's Office
is mourning the loss of Deputy Shannon Bennett, who died of
complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new
Bennett, 39, is believed to be the
pandemic's first line-of-duty victim in Florida.
The sheriff's office said that Bennett,
who tested positive for the virus on March 24, died on Friday.
Sheriff Gregory Tony said during a press conference with reporters
that Bennett appeared to be responding to medical care at a local
hospital but “took a turn for the worse” on April 3.
Tony took the opportunity to state that
supporting first responders at this moment means paying attention to
“all the warnings that have been provided across this planet.”
Tony said that Bennett, a 12-year
veteran of the Broward Sheriff's Office, was one of 21 employees who
have tested positive for the virus. A second first responder in
Florida, Sergeant Jose Diaz Ayala, 38, has died from the disease.
Ayala worked for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
Bennett had posted on Facebook a photo
of himself and fiance Jonathan Frey showing off their engagement
rings. “The date is set!!!,” he wrote. The couple was to marry on
Bennett is also survived by his mother,
Barbara Bennett; and his brother, Darren Bennett.