Quit acting like it doesn't fit you: Deceased DPD captain's family warns against taking COVID-19 lightly

Posted at 2:32 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 22:17:19-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The death of a second member of the Detroit Police Department adds to enormous grief already being felt as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Like all who knew Captain Jonathan Parnell for years, we also saw his professionalism and dedication to the city up close.

On Wednesday, his uncle, a retired firefighter and DPD Chief James Craig are opening up about this loss.

A proud and highly devoted father and husband, Parnell was a role model for many. Serving DPD for more than 30 years, the 50-year-old had a passion for public service.

“Our whole family has served the city in one way or another. He just wanted to be a part of helping people. It’s how we were raised,” says Dave Parnell, Jonathan's uncle.

“Quit acting like it don’t fit you. Because it fits everybody. Think about what they’re talking about. They’re saying it’s older people like myself, 60, 70 years old. He’s 50. [Would've been] 51 August 28. How does he fit in the criteria?”

Loved ones say Jonathan had no recent history of travel nor underlying health issues.

“Jonathan was extraordinary. He cherished his DPD family and we all loved him back. A deputy chief referred to him as a true leader, friend and great person,” Craig says.

The mayor says officers are going to be tested for fevers when they come to work from now on, in additional to all those currently under quarantine.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.