Officer David Tinsley, who collapsed and died after chasing an alleged car thief, was “a cop's cop.”
That was how Fort Wayne Police Chief Steve Reed, wearing a black band around his badge, described Tinsley during a news conference Tuesday morning.
Several hours earlier, Tinsley, 50, was at his job as he had been for 16 years, patrolling the city's southeast side. At 11:15 p.m. Monday, he and his partner began pursuing an apparent stolen vehicle out of New Haven, according to a narrative sent by officer Michael Joyner, city police spokesman.
The pursuit began near Southcrest and Kent roads and ended near Candlelite Apartments close to Fairfield Avenue and the Rivergreenway, just south of Paulding Road.
Tinsley and his officer-in-training along with a police dog entered the Rivergreenway on foot and searched the area. A short time later, officers arrested Patrick Anthony Faiers, 49, of Fort Wayne in a wooded area just off the Rivergreenway where Faiers had crashed the vehicle he'd been driving, police said.
Tinsley was on his way back to his police cruiser when he collapsed. Officers immediately tried to resuscitate him until medics took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Reed said Tinsley had served the police department with honor.
“I knew him his whole career. Anytime you lose an officer, a friend, a co-worker, it's hard,” Reed said. “Our officers will maintain guard on David. They will maintain that until his funeral.”
Mayor Tom Henry said flags in the city would remain at half-staff until the conclusion of Tinsley's funeral.
“Officer Tinsley was a respected and valued member of the FWPD team, and he will be missed,” Henry said in a statement.
Tinsley was commissioned as a police officer in August 2002, and six months later was assigned to second shift in the southeast division. He transferred to the overnight shift in May 2005.
Tinsley received a letter of commendation in 2010 and two letters of reprimand in 2005 and 2008 for police vehicle accidents, the police department said.
Tinsley was one of two officers called to testify in Christopher L. Figgs' murder trial last year. Figgs was convicted of shooting to death Edword Keil in 2016.
Tinsley testified he'd been called to a home because of domestic disputes between Figgs and a woman central to the case. Tinsley then helped develop the case, saying after the visits he began to believe Figgs was the murder suspect.
Faiers, arrested after Monday's chase, was charged Tuesday with burglary, operating a motor vehicle after forfeiture of license for life, two counts of resisting law enforcement and auto theft with two misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and criminal trespass.