According to the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s Office, San Jose police rookie officer De’Jon Packer died of a fentanyl drug overdose.
Packer, 24, was a former running back with San Jose State University’s football team and was found dead at his home in Milpitas on March 13.
Family members sent ABC7 News a statement:
“On behalf of DeJon’s mom, Sonya Steptoe, and family, we are shocked and heartbroken upon learning of DeJon’s cause of death. There was no indication that DeJon was involved in illicit activity, and he was heavily against it, as evidenced by his chosen profession. He joined the San Jose Police Department to make a difference in his community and did not want the police to be seen as a negative entity. Understanding that even the smallest trace of Fentanyl is lethal and can cause harm, and our family will be closely following the Milpitas Police Department and San Jose Police Department’s investigation of the circumstances surrounding his death.”
“Above all things, DeJon was special, brought good to the world and left a positive impact everywhere he went and on everyone he met. That is his legacy, not this. He was able to accomplish so much in his short life, and these findings do not define him. We want to thank those that continue to show support during this really difficult time and ask for respect and privacy as we continue to heal from our tragic and devastating loss.”
“He joined the San Jose Police Department to make a difference in his community and did not want the police to be seen as a negative entity. They also told us they want Packer remembered as someone who brought good to the world.”
Milpitas Police are investigating the death of the rookie cop, but Police Chief Anthony Mata said he disapproved of drug use by a police officer.
“Any allegation of illegal drug use by a San Jose Police officer is concerning. There are no free passes for police officers, and we will not make excuses,” Mata’s statement continued. “When an officer violates the public trust, on or off duty, I will hold them accountable…The public demands, and I expect ethical behavior, accountability, and professionalism from all who wear the uniform.”
San Jose Police Department said it has services available for its officers who may need help coping with the traumatic experiences they experience on duty.