• Search

Hero Down: Detroit Police Capt. Jonathan ‘Recon’ Parnell Dies From Coronavirus

Detroit Police Captain Jonathan Parnell was the commanding officer of the DPD's Homicide Unit.

Detroit, MI – Detroit Police Department (DPD) Captain Jonathan “Recon” Parnell died on Tuesday after contracting COVID-19.

The 31-year veteran-of-the-force was the commanding officer of the DPD’s Homicide Unit at the time of his death, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said during a press conference on Wednesday.

Capt. Parnell, 50, went to an area hospital after he began feeling sick, The Detroit News reported.


“He was off [work,] and he did visit the hospital, and at some point was released home,” Chief Craig told reporters.

Capt. Parnell later died from the illness. It’s not known if he had any preexisting medical conditions.

A 38-year-old DPD dispatcher died from the same illness on Monday. The dispatcher reportedly had no preexisting medical issues.

Chief Craig described Capt. Parnell as an “extraordinary officer,” and valued leader who “served with distinction” over his three decades of service.

“[He] contributed more this department and the community than I could ever say,” the chief continued. “We are family, and when we lose a member of our family, we all feel it.”

Chief Craig said that Capt. Parnell was serving as a sergeant in the department’s Commercial Auto Theft Unit when they first met seven years ago.

“He had taken the lieutenant’s test and he came up for promotion,” the chief recalled. “The thing that stood out for me is that his entire team came to my office and said ‘Chief, we love him. He’s a true leader. Please, don’t move him.’”


Capt. Purnell did receive the promotion, and was promoted again to the rank of captain not long after.

He was the commander of one of the department’s “most elite, challenging units” – the homicide division – at the time of his death, Chief Craig noted.

He also spent time serving in the narcotics unit, The Detroit News reported.

Capt. Parnell leaves behind his three sons, according to Deadline Detroit.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Detroit Police Department Captain Jonathan “Recon” Parnell, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Holly Matkin - March Wed, 2020


Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."