Detroit police Cpt. Parnell dies due to COVID-19: ‘Our hearts are broken’

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Police Chief James Craig speak at a COVID-19 news conference on March 25, 2020. They sat at a distance from each other. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Detroit Police Chief James Craig spoke briefly during a news conference Wednesday to address the death of one of his commanding officers.

The officer, identified as Cpt. Jonathan Parnell, died Tuesday due to complications from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Craig was joined by Mayor Mike Duggan, who said Parnell was a trusted person within the department’s homicide division.

“Our hearts are broken,” said Duggan. “With captain Parnell, it just hits so personally. He was one of the leaders of this department ... just the ultimate professional.”

Chief Craig said 331 sworn members of the Detroit Police Department (DPD) have been quarantined, and 70 other civilian members are quarantined, too. Overall, 18 members of DPD have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The chief said 135 members should return to work by next week.

On Tuesday, officials announced the Detroit Police Department’s first death due to COVID-19 -- a 911 operator.

Craig said over the weekend that eight officers had been diagnosed with the virus, while more than 200 were quarantining.

As of Wednesday morning, the Detroit Health Department was reporting 574 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city with 11 deaths due to the illness.

MORE: Tracking daily new COVID-19 cases in Michigan

Detroit Police Chief James Craig held a news conference Wednesday to address the death of one of his commanding officers.

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.