Court docs: Bungled drug deal was behind San Jose’s first homicide of 2024

Court docs: Bungled drug deal was behind San Jose’s first homicide of 2024

SAN JOSE — A fumbled drug deal was behind San Jose’s first homicide of 2024, in which a driver dragged then ran over a man in a frenzied encounter at a high-end luxury apartment complex in North San Jose, court documents allege.

Erik Joseph Duran, 25, died the afternoon of Jan. 10 near Descanso Drive and North First Street. Mikel McNack, a 19-year-old Fremont man, has been charged with murder and is accused of intentionally hitting Duran while driving a gray 2017 Infiniti QX30 SUV.

Officers responding to a 5:47 p.m. report of a vehicle accident found a gravely injured Duran lying in the middle of Brisas Drive, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by San Jose police that accompanies the criminal complaint against McNack.

Homicide detectives wrote in the court document that a review of surveillance footage from the area showed the Infiniti pull up to the area of Brisas and Descanso drives, with Duran exiting an apartment building and walking up to the driver’s side door. Duran appeared to be having a conversation with the car’s occupants; a short time later, the SUV started moving with Duran “hanging on to the exterior of the vehicle, at the driver window.”

Duran was dragged alongside the SUV until it hit a parked car. After the collision, Duran reportedly stood in the roadway as the Infiniti backed up and hit another parked car.

With Duran standing in the SUV’s path, the footage reportedly showed the driver headed “straight toward the victim and ran over him” before fleeing south on Brisas Drive. Duran was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the affidavit, an ensuing investigation interviewed several people close to Duran, one of whom told police that he was likely selling lean, or promethazine and codeine, cough syrup components that are mixed with soda and consumed as a recreational drug. The concoction was popularized in rap culture most notably by the hit song “Sippin’ on Some Sizzurp” by Three 6 Mafia, and is also referred to as “purple drank.”

Duran’s phone was searched by detectives who saw McNack was the last person he contacted, the affidavit reads. They then traced McNack’s cell phone signal activity, which confirmed he was in the area of the crime scene for at least 10 minutes before Duran died.

Another unnamed witness separately told investigators that McNack was the SUV driver, and confirmed “the incident took place over a drug transaction.”

Related Articles

Crime and Public Safety |

San Jose dog recovering from snout injury following mysterious shooting

Crime and Public Safety |

Richmond sees first homicide of year, a fatal shooting

Crime and Public Safety |

Police provide update into Los Altos death investigation

Crime and Public Safety |

Innocence Project is representing Scott Peterson, who was convicted of killing his wife and unborn child

Crime and Public Safety |

Peninsula mother arrested on suspicion of pointing knife at son during argument

Detectives also interviewed a relative of McNack’s, who reportedly told them that McNack admitted to being the driver. The relative further recounted McNack’s apparent confession and said he went to the San Jose location to buy lean and marijuana, and that Duran “accidentally dropped the drugs in the vehicle.” McNack allegedly told the relative that Duran grabbed at his chain — which he believed was an attempt to steal it — prompting McNack’s friends to tell him to drive away.

McNack was criminally charged Wednesday and is being held without bail at the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose. He is scheduled to return to court Jan. 24.

In a GoFundMe page established to support Duran’s family, his older brother Michael wrote “he didn’t deserve this anyone that knew my brother loved him. I know god will take care of another one of our angels & I know soon justice will be served for him & our family.”

Anyone with information for investigators can contact the SJPD homicide unit at 408-277-5283 or email Detective Sgt. Ivan Barragan at [email protected] or Detective Catherine Van Brande at [email protected]. Tips can also be left with Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-7867 or at