Who was Daniel Trujillo? Anti-vaxxer Colorado cop, 33, dies of Covid-19 after boasting of immune system
Daniel Trujillo, a prominent anti-vaxxer and deputy at the Denver Sheriff's Department, died from Covid-19 on May 26. Trujillo is the second member of the department to succumb to the deadly virus after Deputy James Herrera died on May 16.
Vaccine hesitancy is proving to be a big challenge in the US, despite President Joe Biden's push to get more people to take their shots. In order to entice the public, states such as Ohio have started a vaccine lottery. Others have offered other incentives, including a free burger and fries in New York. Nonetheless, several prominent Republicans including Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene have been promoting anti-vax theories, which Trujillo seemed to be equally fond of.
The deputy's social media profiles were filled with anti-vax messages just weeks prior to his death. Shortly after his death, Denver Sheriff's Department tweeted, "It is with great sadness that we share 33-year-old Denver Sheriff Deputy Daniel “Duke” Trujillo passed away last evening from COVID-19 complications. We ask that you keep his family in your thoughts and prayers and respect their privacy during this difficult time."
It is with great sadness that we share 33-year-old Denver Sheriff Deputy Daniel “Duke” Trujillo passed away last evening from COVID-19 complications. We ask that you keep his family in your thoughts and prayers and respect their privacy during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/FACuhzgy9d— Denver Sheriff (@DenverSheriff) May 27, 2021
Who was Daniel Trujillo?
The 33-year-old sheriff's deputy is from Pueblo West, Colorado, according to his Facebook page. He was a prominent anti-vaxxer who expressed his opinions with multiple images across Facebook and Instagram, which have since been taken down. Screenshots recovered by The Daily Mail show that Trujillo had messages like "I have an immune system" and "I don't care if you've had your vaccine" on his Facebook profile photos.
Reportedly, he served in the United States Marine Corps prior to joining the police. Dates of his service were not available, but the Denver Post reported he had been with the Denver Sheriff's Department since 2014. He leaves behind a wife and one son, who have started a GoFundMe page to support the family. At the time of reporting, the fundraiser has raised $7,290 of its $20,000 goal.
According to one Facebook post, Trujillo was recently appointed as the vice president of the Denver Sheriff Latino Organization. In 2017, he was suspended for 60 days without pay after being found guilty of using excessive force. Prior to that, he was suspended for 30 days for "failing to respond quickly enough to an inmate’s suicide attempt," according to the Post. Both incidents occurred at Downtown Detention Centre where Trujillo was working when he contracted Covid-19.
On April 26, he shared a TikTok of another former Marine spewing anti-vax messages. Trujillo shared that video and posted, "I'll get it later on after y'all start growing appendages out of y'all's foreheads." In July 2020, he put up a post on Instagram that said, "'Before you shame me in public for not having a mask, ask yourself a simple question. Will this mask stop an uppercut?" The anti-vax messages on Facebook appear to have been taken down, but it is unclear if they are still up on his Instagram account, which is private.
The news of his death has led to both widespread condemnation as well as support. Some of Trujillo's friends have posted messages on Facebook mourning the former Marine. "I will always miss your big hugs you gave me every time I saw you," one person wrote on Facebook. Another said, "Rest in peace bro and thank you for your service." Public health scientist Dr Eric Ding tweeted, "I’m seeing a lot of schadenfreude / Darwin type comments. I think instead of mocking, we should use this as a teachable moment to share with vaccine hesitant and vaccine resisting friends and family members. If they don’t believe scientists, maybe this story they will respond."
5) I’m seeing a lot of schadenfreude / Darwin type comments. I think instead of mocking, we should use this as a teachable moment to share with vaccine hesitant and vaccine resisting friends and family members. If they don’t believe scientists, maybe this story they will respond https://t.co/P96qwERtqi— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) May 28, 2021
Others have slammed Trujillo online for not taking the vaccine when he had the chance. Trujillo was eligible to get his shot back in January, as a frontline worker. It is unclear if he did get vaccinated since the department does not track who does and doesn't get their shots. "Vaccinations were a choice," department spokeswoman Daria Serna said.