June 13, 2006 – Lt. Gregory Bennerson and Cpl. Sheila Middleton both died within the last 24 hours, sending shock waves through the V.I. community. Both were 46.
Middleton, who was head of the Crime Prevention Bureau on St. Croix, died late on the evening of June 12 at Juan F. Luis Hospital, where she was taken after not feeling well for a couple of days, a release from the Police Department said.
Bennerson, who was chief of detectives for the Criminal Investigations Bureau, died in the early morning hours of June 13 at Luis Hospital where he had been taken after experiencing problems related to asthma, a friend said.
Middleton, a St. Croix native, served the Crime Prevention Bureau for 16 years. She had been the catalyst for establishing the Neighborhood Watch Program on St. Croix, according to Police Commissioner Elton Lewis.
A former senator in the 23rd Legislature, Bennerson had been planning to run for Senate again in the fall.
A 1981 graduate of Florida State University with a bachelor of science degree in criminology, Bennerson served the department for 24 years.
"He has served as a role model for new detectives entering the Forensics Section of the Criminal Investigation Bureau," Lewis said.
He said Middleton and Bennerson were "unsung heroes" of the VIPD who will be sorely missed.
He said they were officers who "could always be counted on to go above and beyond the call of duty."
The Source will provide further details about Middleton and Bennerson, survivors and funeral arrangements as information becomes available.