Autopsy: Fort Wayne Police officer died from heart attack

A Fort Wayne Police officer died in the line of duty after suffering a heart attack, according to the Allen County Coroner’s office.

David A. Tinsley, 50, a 16-year police veteran, died following pursuit of a man suspected of vehicle theft. According to police, around 11:15 p.m. Monday officers were engaged in a pursuit that began near Southcrest and Kent roads after the vehicle had been reported stolen in New Haven. The chase entered the rivergreenway near the Candlelite Apartments near Fairfield Avenue and Paulding Road. Officer David A. Tinsley, 50, entered the greenway path on foot with his officer in training. Tinsley, his partner and a K9 officer began searching the area on foot, and officers apprehended 49-year old Patrick Anthony Faiers of Fort Wayne in a wooded area just off the greenway where he had crashed the vehicle he had been driving.

On the way back to his police cruiser, Tinsley collapsed. He was taken to local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Faiers has been charged with being an habitual traffic violator and resisting law enforcement, both felonies.

The coroner reports an autopsy determined Tinsley’s cause of death to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and the manner of death to be natural. The case remains under investigation by the Fort Wayne Police Department, Allen County Prosecutor’s office and the Coroner’s office.

Meanwhile, State Sen. President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, issued a statement noting that Tinsley “served and protected our community selflessly for many years, and my most sincere condolences and prayers go out to his family, friends and fellow officers. I hope the entire community will join me in honoring his life and offering support to the members of the Fort Wayne Police Department during this difficult time.”