Scores of cops recently lined a South Florida roadway to mourn a colleague who caught a fatal case of COVID-19 on the job — one of five officers in the Sunshine State who died of the disease in just one week amid a record surge in local cases.
Video posted on Facebook last week shows the massive police procession that escorted the flag-draped coffin of Fort Lauderdale Officer Jennifer Sepot from the Northwest Medical Center in Margate to a funeral home after her Aug. 14 death.
Sepot, 27, was infected with the coronavirus while working as a road patrol officer, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page website, which lists COVID-19 as the No. 1 killer of cops in the US during both 2020 and 2021.
The four-year veteran, who was buried Friday, is survived by her husband, a Margate cop, and their daughter, 2, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
On the same day she died, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Lazaro Febles, a 12-year veteran, also succumbed to complications of COVID-19, his agency said.
Febles, 41, was infected in the line of duty while assigned to Troop E – Miami and is survived by his wife and two kids, according to ODMP.
West Palm Beach Police Officer Robert Williams, who marked 20 years with the department June 10, died Aug. 16 of complications related to COVID-19.
He is survived by his wife and sons, according to the WPBPD’s Facebook page.
Miami Beach Police Officer Edward Perez, a 25-year veteran, died Thursday afternoon “after a battle with COVID,” his department tweeted.
“He leaves behind a loving wife and daughter. Please keep his family and the MBPD in your thoughts and prayers,” the MBPD added.
And Friday, Coral Springs Police Sgt. Patrick “Pat” Madison, 43, died of complications of COVID-19 after a decorated, 15-year career during which he was promoted to supervisor of general investigations last year, according to a statement from Chief Clyde Parry.
“Pat was a tremendous leader whose passion for his job was only surpassed by his commitment to his community and the citizens he served,” Parry wrote.
Madison’s survivors include his namesake son, his mother and his fiancee.
A surge in coronavirus cases across Florida, driven by the highly infectious Delta variant, led to a record 1,486 weekly deaths reported Friday, according to the Jacksonville Times-Union.
Last week, Brevard County Fire Chief Mark Schollmeyer said local emergency rooms were being overrun with coronavirus cases and urged residents to contact their own physicians before calling for ambulances.