Dejean-Jones’ agent, Scott Nichols, said his client died after a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
According to Dallas police, officers responded to a call about a shooting at Camden Belmont Apartments around 3:20 a.m. Saturday morning. The resident of an apartment there said an individual had kicked open his front door and entered. The resident, who had been asleep, retrieved a handgun and called out to the individual, but did not receive an answer. The individual kicked the bedroom door and the resident fired his gun through the door, striking him.
Officers who responded found Dejean-Jones collapsed in an outdoor passageway, and he later died at a hospital. Police at that point identified him as Dejean-Jones. He was 23.
According to an email that the apartment complex sent to its residents Saturday morning, the individual was “believed to be breaking into the apartment of an estranged acquaintance [but] inadvertently broke into the wrong apartment.”
Dejean-Jones was visiting his girlfriend in Dallas for his daughter’s first birthday, which was Saturday, according to Nichols. He said the girlfriend returned to the apartment first while Dejean-Jones went for a walk after they had gone out.
“He went to the wrong apartment unfortunately and I think he thought his girlfriend locked him out, so he was knocking on the door, banging on the door, it’s locked,” Nichols told the Associated Press. “So one thing led to another.”
Sources told ESPN that Dejean-Jones was involved in an argument with the child’s mother prior to the shooting.
According to a report from the NBA’s senior vice president and chief security officer that was sent to teams and obtained by ESPN, no charges have been filed against the apartment resident. Under Texas law, a person is allowed to use deadly force to defend himself/herself in his/her home. The law also says a person using force cannot provoke the attacker or be involved in criminal activity at the time.
The NBA report obtained by ESPN also noted that a toxicology report is “a couple weeks” away, but it is “unknown at this time if a substance played a part in the incident.” An update from the Dallas PD is expected on Tuesday.
Dejean-Jones signed a three-year contract with the Pelicans in February after joining the team on consecutive 10-day contracts. He started 11 of 14 games before undergoing surgery for a broken right wrist and missing the rest of the season.
“It is with deep sadness that the Pelicans organization acknowledges the sudden passing of Bryce Dejean-Jones,” the Pelicans said in a statement. “We are devastated at the loss of this young man’s life who had such a promising future ahead of him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bryce’s family during this difficult time.”
A native of Los Angeles, Dejean-Jones averaged 5.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 19.9 minutes over the 14 games last season.
“Bryce overcame a lot of obstacles to get to this point in his career,” Nichols told ESPN’s Justin Verrier. “He was a joy to be around, a talent just turning the corner in his career.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed his condolences in a statement later Saturday.
“The NBA family mourns the tragic loss of New Orleans Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones,” he said. “Bryce inspired countless people with his hard work and perseverance on his journey to the NBA, and he had a bright future in our league. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Bryce’s family and the entire Pelicans organization during this difficult time.”
“We are deeply saddened to learn the tragic news about Bryce,” former Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “I’m grateful that our paths crossed in this life. Bryce was a passionate and talented player that lived out his dream of playing in the NBA through hard work and perseverance. It’s an incredibly sad day for me and all of Iowa State University. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bryce’s family.”
Reaction from players filtered onto social media throughout Saturday.
— Quincy Pondexter (@QuincyPondexter) May 28, 2016
I just lost my best friend/cousin last night enjoy life because you never know if tomorrow is guaranteed love you soldier ! #RIPBDJ
— shabazz muhammad (@ShabazzMuhammad) May 28, 2016
Man life is so crazy rest in peace BDJ! Gone way too soon! My thoughts and prayers are with your family!
— Georges Niang (@GeorgesNiang20) May 28, 2016
Information from ESPN’s Justin Verrier, The Undefeated’s Marc Spears and The Associated Press was included in this report.