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Deputy Shannon Bennett, a gay the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Florida, has died of complications from COVID-19

Bennett, 39, died Friday night, the sheriff’s office announced in a Facebook post over the weekend. He had left work March 23 after not feeling well. He went to the hospital the following day and was tested for COVID-19. The results came back positive March 27, and he died a week later. His death from COVID-19 was the first of two in the department and is believed to be the first such line-of-duty death in Florida. Sgt. Jose Diaz Ayala, 38, subsequently died of complications related to COVID-19.

“I ask that you keep Shannon’s family members in your prayers, but keep Shannon within your heart,” Sheriff Gregory Tony said in the Facebook post. “His legacy will be carried on in our performance.”

“During the Stonewall Pride fest in Wilton Manors, he never participated in the drinking aspect, the fun part of it,” Bennett’s friend Tim Martin told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “He always wanted to be in uniform, on the street, protecting his community. And he was very proud of that fact, that that’s what he did on most weekends. Whenever they closed down Wilton Drive, he was there, in uniform, protecting us.”

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