Broward commissioners mourn loss of deputy to coronavirus

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief asked her colleagues on Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale for a moment of silence in honor of the two police officers who died Friday and Saturday of COVID-19, the contagious respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.

Sharief mentioned Shannon Bennett, a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy who died Friday night. He was a 12-year veteran at BSO who was working as a school resource officer at Deerfield Beach Elementary School. He was 39.

The other officer Sharief mentioned was Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jose Diaz Ayala, who died on Saturday. The 14-year veteran and former corrections deputy had an underlying health condition. He was 38.

As of Tuesday afternoon, COVID-19 cases were over 2,200 in Broward County and there were 35 deputies who have tested positive for COVID-19.


After commissioners’ second virtual meeting, Broward County Mayor Dale Holness said his main goal during the pandemic is to increase drive-through testing sites. The location at Festival Flea Market Mall, 2900 W. Sample Rd., in Pompano Beach is expected to re-open by the end of the week.

There are only two testing sites open to the public in Broward County. The site at C.B. Smith Park, 900 N. Flamingo Rd., in Pembroke Pines, is for symptomatic residents. The site at the Cleveland Clinic’s Krupa Center, 3250 Meridian Pkwy., in Weston is by appointment only.

Holness is considering following in the steps of Miami-Dade County Carlos Gimenez to open public libraries to help the unemployed to fill out applications for benefits.

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.