Press "Enter" to skip to content

KC Coroner’s office calls KCSO Deputy Harnibson’s death was by suicide

By Laura Austin News Review Staff  Writer–

On Tuesday, May 21st, The Kern County Sheriff’s Department lost one of its own.

The Kern County coroner’s office on Thursday identified a senior sheriff’s deputy who took his own life Tuesday in a dirt lot north in Shafter.

Senior Deputy Harmonson

Bakersfield resident Benjamin Alan Michael Harmonson, age 36, was found dead from a gunshot wound just outside his department-issued vehicle Tuesday afternoon north of 7th Standard Road west of Verdugo Lane, the coroner’s office reported in a news release Thursday morning. It judged his manner of death a suicide.

“Senior Deputy Harmonson’s passing was a shock to us all,” Sheriff Donny Youngblood said. “We knew his family and his work family needed time to grieve, and we certainly wanted to be respectful during this difficult time. Ben worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 16 years and was one of our best.” Youngblood continued.

Harmonson joined the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in July 2008 and was later promoted to Senior Deputy in November 2022. Harmonson was named Deputy of the Year for the Rosamond Substation in 2013. His assignments included Mojave, Rosamond, Electronic Monitoring Program Unit, Narcotics, Lamont, Tehachapi, and the Bomb Squad.

As a Senior Deputy, he was placed into two assignments that only the best get: Crimes Against Persons and Internal Affairs. He excelled in both. He had numerous commendations with a common theme. According to fellow workers and citizens, he was kind. Youngblood stated.

Dozens of law enforcement vehicles responded to the scene of Harmonson’s death Tuesday, and many were reported to have participated in a procession when his body was delivered to the coroner’s office.

“Ben will be missed for sure. Out of respect for the family, any other information will come from them. Out of respect for Ben, be kind,” Youngblood said.