New Orleans Pelicans player Bryce Dejean-Jones was shot to death early Saturday in Dallas, with his agent saying it happened because the player mistakenly entered the wrong apartment.
A Dallas resident told police he heard someone enter his apartment by kicking open the front door, police spokesman DeMarquis Black said in a statement. The resident said “he called out to the individual, but was not answered,” and when the resident’s bedroom door was kicked open, the resident fired his gun, police said.
Dejean-Jones collapsed in the breezeway, police said. He was transported to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries, Black said.
The basketball player’s agent, Scott Nichols, said Dejean-Jones was in Dallas to visit his girlfriend for his daughter’s first birthday.
This was the first time Dejean-Jones visited her new apartment, Nichols said. Later that night Dejean-Jones came back to the apartment complex but went to the wrong unit on the third floor, just below his girlfriend’s fourth-floor apartment, Nichols said.
Police had no immediate response to Nichols’ comments.
“There is no information that suggests the deceased Bryce Dejean-Jones knew the apartment resident, or was armed as he entered the apartment,” Black said.
Dejean-Jones, 23, was a rookie guard with the Pelicans this past season, having played in college for Iowa State, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and the University of Southern California.
“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.”
Dejean-Jones was not drafted by the NBA but was signed by the Pelicans in February and played in 14 games for the team before a broken wrist ended his season. He averaged 5.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 19.9 minutes per game.
Prior to joining New Orleans, Dejean-Jones played for the Idaho Stampede in the NBA Development League.
Minnesota Timberwolves player Shabazz Muhammad tweeted: “I just lost my best friend/cousin last night enjoy life because you never know if tomorrow is guaranteed love you soldier ! #RIPBDJ”
Dejean-Jones, a native of Los Angeles, played for Iowa State during the 2014-15 season and was fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 10.5 points per game while playing in 33 games, the Iowa State website said.
“This is a very, very sad and tragic day for everyone that’s a part of the Cyclone Basketball family,” Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement saying, “The NBA family mourns the tragic loss of New Orleans Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones. 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.”
“Bryce overcame a lot of obstacles to get to this point in his career,” said Nichols, his agent. “He was a great player and an even better person. It’s unfortunate because he was just turning a corner in his career.”
Police have not said whether any charges will be filed against the shooter.
But Texas is one of many of states that justifies the use of deadly force in certain cases when someone feels threatened in their home.
In recent years, some states — including Texas — have expanded that protection to any place a person “has the right to be.”
Texas and 21 other states have also removed a stipulation that a person has the “duty to retreat” before resorting to force against an attacker, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.