Hero Down: Fort Wayne Police Officer David Tinsley Dies After Foot Pursuit
Fort Wayne, IN – Fort Wayne Police Officer David Tinsley died in the line of duty on Sep. 10, when he suffered a heart attack after he and other officers chased down the driver of a stolen vehicle.
Officer Tinsley, 50, died of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, the Allen County Coroner’s Office confirmed on Wednesday morning, according to WANE.
Fort Wayne officers initially tried to stop 49-year-old Patrick Faiers near the Bishop Luers High School, after they spotted him driving a pickup truck that had been reported as stolen.
Faiers refused to pull over, and sped off towards an apartment complex about a mile away. He then drove around the buildings, took the vehicle over a curb, and soared down an embankment onto the St. Mary’s River Rivergreenway, WANE reported.
He ultimately crashed the vehicle and took off into the woods.
Accompanied by a K9 and an officer-in-training, Officer Tinsley searched for Faiers on foot. The suspect was located and taken into custody a short while later on charges of resisting law enforcement, burglary, habitual traffic violator, and automobile theft.
But as Officer Tinsley was walking back to his patrol vehicle, he suddenly collapsed.
His fellow officers tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him until medics arrived and rushed him to St. Joseph Hospital.
Officer Tinsley was pronounced dead a short time later.
Dozens of officers gathered at the hospital to console the fallen officer’s family as news of his sudden passing spread.
"He was a good cop, always going above and beyond," Fort Wayne Police Chief Steve Reed said during a Tuesday press conference, as he struggled to hold back tears. "Never shying away from danger…you'd hear his name only in good light."
Officer Tinsley served the department for 16 years.
“He served our department and the city with honor,” Chief Reed said. “He came to work, took care of business, was a kind person…he did his job.”
Fort Wayne police officers will remain by the fallen officer’s side until he is laid to rest on Monday.
“We’re fortunate to live in a community that appreciates and understands the important role that law enforcement has in our everyday lives,” Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry told the News-Sentinel. “We’re a safer and stronger City because of the men and women of the FWPD.”
“Officer Tinsley passed away while serving and protecting our community,” Henry continued. “[He] was a respected and valued member of the FWPD team, and he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the Tinsley family during this most difficult time.”
The mayor asked the community to fly flags at half-staff until the conclusion of Officer Tinsley’s funeral proceedings.
Officer Tinsley leaves behind his wife, Kristina, as well as their three children.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Fort Wayne Police Officer David Tinsley, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.