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Basketball Player Jeep Jackson’s Death Under Investigation by El Paso Police

Associated Press

Authorities launched an investigation in connection with the sudden death of University of Texas El Paso basketball star Hernell (Jeep) Jackson, the chief of police said Tuesday.

“There is an investigation on,” said John Scagno, the City of El Paso Chief of Police.

The probe by the Special Investigative Group, or SIG, began Monday “because of information the department received . . . concerning the situation,” Scagno said.

SIG includes officers from intelligence, vice, narcotics and other specialized units of the police department. Scagno said he did not know when the investigation would conclude.

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Jackson, 23, a former Gardena High star, collapsed Saturday during the second half of a charity basketball game at the Ft. Bliss military facility outside of El Paso. He had been playing for five minutes, sat at the bench and fell to the floor shortly before 3 p.m. MDT. Jackson was declared dead at Beaumont Army Medical Center at 4:09 p.m.

Scagno would not comment on whether the information police received involved drugs.

“I can’t go into this right now,” Scagno said. “This is all very preliminary stuff.”

A preliminary autopsy was inconclusive. There were “no visible signs of damage to the heart that could be seen with the naked eye,” Manuel Diaz, chief investigator for the El Paso County medical examiner’s office, said after a three-hour autopsy Sunday.

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Samples of blood, urine and tissue were being processed, but results of those tests were not expected for a week.

Diaz and UTEP officials and Jackson’s father, Mason Jackson of Carson, Calif., have said Jackson was in perfect health. A memorial service was held at the Special Events Center on the university campus Tuesday. Jackson’s body was to have been flown later to California for burial.


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