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01-20-2016, 09:21 AM

PBSO deputy fatally shoots Belle Glade man amid confrontation
11:58 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016

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BELLE GLADE — A Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a 19-year-old man who investigators say pulled a gun during a traffic stop in Belle Glade Saturday morning, prompting angry questions from family members and residents.

The man, Henry Bennett, was killed by the deputy just after 11 a.m. after the deputy pulled over Bennett’s car near the area of Southwest Ninth Street and Southwest Avenue D in Belle Glade.

Authorities say Bennett, who was riding with a young woman, drove the car into a driveway. He ran from his vehicle as the deputy was climbing out of his vehicle and began to run away.

The sheriff’s office said in a statement late Saturday that the deputy shouted “Stop” twice and “Get on the ground” as he followed Bennett. After a short foot chase, Bennett turned toward the deputy with a gun in his hand, and pointed the gun at the deputy, and emerged holding a handgun.

“In fear of his life,” the deputy fired his weapon, striking Bennett twice, the sheriff’s office said in its statement. Bennett died at the scene, a neighborhood of single-family homes and two-story apartment buildings a few blocks from the city’s Boys & Girls Club. Authorities did not say how many times he was shot, but witnesses reporting hearing several gunshots.

The deputy confronted him as he walked toward an apartment building, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Saturday at the crime scene.

“We believe at that point in time is when the guy turned toward the deputy with the firearm, and the deputy shot him and he fell to the ground,” Bradshaw said.


Bennett’s sister, Kenesha Lott, called Bennett a family-oriented person who loved to tell jokes. A longtime friend said he had been a student at Glades Central High School.

“He was very caring and a people person,” Lott said. “He loved his family.”

Bennett also had frequent run-ins with law enforcement, records show. He was arrested four times last year, including twice on battery charges and once on drug possession charges, according to state records. He pleaded guilty to both battery charges, records show. The outcome of his drug possession arrest in Clewiston was not clear Saturday.

He was last released from the Palm Beach County Jail on Dec. 16, a month before his death.

His Facebook page included two photos of him posing with guns. “I’m my own shooter,” he said in the caption of one. On New Year’s Day he uploaded a video that appeared to show someone firing a gun several times. “A lil new year shooting,” he wrote.

Bradshaw said Bennett was also a suspect in a child-abuse case and had multiple restraining orders filed against him.

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Bennett’s death angered relatives and friends, many of whom were among a large crowd that gathered at the scene Saturday afternoon to protest.

“This is Trayvon Martin all over again,” :pone person yelled at sheriff’s deputies across the crime-scene tape.

“He didn’t have to die like that,” screamed another.
tator shooting belle glade photo

Lott, Bennett’s sister, suggested that the shooting had racial overtones.

“If it was a white man getting out of the car, none of this would have happened,” she said. “They wouldn’t have shot him. They just felt threatened because he was black.”:cool: