FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida family is in mourning after, officials said, a 12-year veteran with the Broward Sheriff’s Office died from complications due to COVID-19.
BSO announced the passing of Deputy Shannon Bennett at a news conference, Saturday morning.
Saturday night, Bennett’s younger brother, Darren Bennett, said his sibling’s sudden passing has dealt a huge blow to his loved ones.
“I haven’t slept much. A lot of us haven’t slept much,” he said. “Mothers don’t typically lose sons like this. It doesn’t seem to happen that way.”
BSO officials and Bennett’s family said he was diagnosed on March 24 and was hospitalized three days later.
“A lot of problems breathing, a lot of issues and complications. The fever wouldn’t go down,” said Darren.
The deputy died Friday night. He was 39 years old.
“He was showing signs of recovery, and it turned for the worse last night,” Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony.
“His white blood cells started to go back up. 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,” said Darren.
“This is a reminder, to not only this community, but us as first first responders that we’re on the front lines with this,” said Tony.
According to his family, Bennett worked as a school resource officer at Deerfield Beach Elementary School.
Now they are grappling with the fact that the man they described as a selfless family man is gone.
“The shocker was, we thought he was getting better, and then it just went south so quick, and that’s what this virus will do to you,” said Darren.
Tony described Bennett as a fine officer, adding that he recently had the chance to sit down with the fallen deputy about increasing equality within the department.
“He was a part of the LGBTQ community, and he wanted to see a committee formed here at this agency,” said Tony, “and we put it together, and he sat with members of our organizations to figure out better ways to better bond this network inside this community.”
Bennett’s partner expressed his love in a Facebook post, writing in part, “My heart has been forever torn into two … I will miss you dearly.”
The deputy’s mother also took to Facebook, writing, “A mother’s heart is broken. I want my son but can’t and will no longer see him, touch him, can’t even kiss him goodbye.”
The community expressed their condolences, leaving flowers and a sign beside his marked BSO cruiser.
Tony said that even though his officer’s fight may be over, the battle to combat the coronavirus continues.
“We’re still willing to serve, but this is a new enemy that we can’t even see.,” he said
The sheriff also expressed the urgency required during these trying times, saying “If you truly support your first responders, then reduce our opportunities for having citizen contact. Because for every time we have to answer a call because someone’s non-compliant, it puts our lives at risk.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Advisory Council (BSAC) has announced a new fund for COVID-19 victims in memory of Deputy Bennett. The donations will be set aside to support the families of any Broward County first responder who succumbs to COVID-19.
More information about the fund can be found at http://sheriffsadvisorycouncil.com/covid-19-fund/
Bennett’s family said they hope that their loss can serve as a lesson.
“This can happen to anybody. Yes, we serve a big God, and yes, I believe God is absolutely sovereign, and He’s good,” said Darren, “but we have a responsibility. There’s God’s sovereignty, and then there’s man’s responsibility.”
Bennett leaves behind a partner. They were set to marry in December.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.