Sheriff's Deputy Who Posted Anti-Vaccine Content Dies of COVID

A sheriff's deputy in Denver, Colorado, who shared anti-vaccine content on Facebook has died of COVID.

Daniel "Duke" Trujillo, 33, died on Wednesday evening from COVID complications, the Denver Sheriff Department said on Thursday. Trujillo was a former Marine who served as a deputy sheriff for 7 years and had recently been appointed vice-president of the Denver Sheriff Latino Organization.

"We ask that you keep his family in your thoughts and prayers and respect their privacy," the department said. "We also ask that you pray for the members of our Department as well."

Trujillo is survived by his wife and three-year-old son, according to a GoFundMe page set up for his family.

"All who know Daniel can describe him as a light hearted, loving, hard working man who deeply cared for his family," the fundraiser's description read. "He touched so many lives and will be immensely missed."

Trujillo had previously shared social media content that appeared to reject the COVID vaccine. A Facebook profile photo updated in early May said "I have an immune system," a common refrain among those eschewing pandemic-era precautionary measures.

In late April, Trujillo's profile picture bore a banner that read "I don't care if you've had your vaccine."

True story: Denver Sheriff Deputy “Duke”, a former Marine, posted anti-vaccine videos/pictures on Facebook.

➡️Outcome: He dies of #COVID19. He was just 33-years old.

He’s the 2nd Denver Sheriff to die in 2 weeks. Please #vaccinate

(ht @RzstProgramming)

— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) May 28, 2021

Social media users circulated recordings of a TikTok video reportedly shared by Trujillo, in which an unidentified man promotes anti-vaccine rhetoric. The post could not be independently verified by Newsweek.

"You f***sticks are really out on social media going 'Of course I went and got my vaccine! I did my research, I know what's in it, you peasants,'" the man in the video said. "Oh buddy, you are the research."

"Being a marine has taught me one thing: never be the first to volunteer," he continued. "Y'all rushin' out there standin' in line to get the vaccine like folks rush out to get the new iPhone."

"And if history has told us any new product that ever comes on the market is always full of problems. And you know how they fix those problems?"

Trujillo's alleged post sharing the TikTok video read: "I'll get it later on after y'all start growing apendages [sic] out of y'all's foreheads."

The last post on an Instagram account that appears to have belonged to Trujillo said "Before you shame me in public for not having a mask, ask yourself one simple question. Will this mask stop an uppercut?"

According to Colorado's COVID vaccine plan, the rollout phase that included police and workers at correctional facilities began on December 30, 2020. The Denver Sheriff Department said Trujillo worked for the Downtown Detention Center.

The facility had recorded 11 active COVID cases as of Thursday, according to data by the Denver Sheriff's Department. It's unclear whether Trujillo contracted the virus there.

Less than two weeks before Trujillo's passing, Denver Sheriff's Deputy James Herrera, 51, died of COVID-19 on May 16. Trujillo had paid tribute to Herrera by posting a picture of him as his Facebook cover photo, calling Herrera his "brother and coworker."

COVID-19 protesters demonstrate in Denver, Colorado
Demonstrators gather in front of the Colorado State Capitol building to protest coronavirus stay-at-home orders during a "ReOpen Colorado" rally in Denver, Colorado, on April 19, 2020. JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty Images

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